When orthodontic treatment for your misaligned or crooked teeth is completed, wearing retainers is highly recommended after the braces are removed. This is because teeth have a tendency to go back to their previous position even after wearing braces for years. They can take a long time to adjust to their new positions and retainers help maintain them by controlling this natural shifting.
However, retainers need care and maintenance too to avoid dental problems. In today’s blog post, we’ll discuss retainers and how to take care of them.
What are Retainers?
It’s a piece of metal or acrylic mould that is custom made for each individual by an orthodontist or a general dentist. The dentist takes the impression of the newly positioned teeth after removing the braces. This impression is then sent to the dental lab to create the mould and placed onto the teeth of the patient in a separate appointment. It’s recommended that retainers should be worn for several years.
Different Types of Retainers
There are two types of retainers available. The dentist thoroughly examines the clinical needs of individual patients to determine the right type of retainer for each case. However, the desire of the patient and the ease of maintenance are also taken into consideration to suit individual needs.
- Fixed Retainers: This retainer type is made of thin wire that stretches across several teeth and is bonded across the back of the upper or lower front teeth. The bonding is done with a type of cement which is similar to that used on the brace brackets. It’s the best solution for keeping newly straightened teeth in perfect position.
- Removable Retainers: This type of retainer is a combination of wire, acrylic materials and clasps. The wire stretches across the front of the upper or lower teeth which is kept in place by the help of the clasps that insert in and around the back of the teeth. It is removable but should be worn daily as advised by the dentist. However, removable retainers come with the disadvantage of changing shape when exposed to high heat.
Cleaning and Maintaining Retainers
Fixed retainers take more effort to clean and maintain. You need to use a floss threader to reach the interproximal spaces or the difficult areas between the teeth. Removable retainers are easier to clean. They can be cleaned with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste but toothpaste can dull the appearance of the retainer if it’s made of acrylic. Special retainer cleaners or denture cleaners are the best options for cleaning removable retainers as they also help to clean the bacteria sticking to them.
Periodic maintenance of both types of retainers includes routine dental checkups with your regular dentist or orthodontist. He/she will check in and around the retainers to ensure that they are properly placed. The dentist will also check for cavities and make sure that the teeth supporting the retainers are plaque and tartar free.
Besides preventing shifting of teeth after braces, retainers can also help in various other mouth problems such as tongue thrust and speech problems. Ensure a beautifully aligned smile by properly caring for your retainers after braces.
At Dentistry on Dusk in Brampton, our team of dental experts offers complete dental care for your entire family. Call us today at 905-453-7777 or write to us to make an appointment.