Retainers – Keeping your teeth in position
Retainers are an essential part of your orthodontic treatment process as they make sure your teeth don’t go wandering back to their original places. Your retainer will be specially moulded to fit your newly straightened teeth and we’ll tell you when to wear it and for how long once your treatment is completed. In some cases, you may be able to skip the braces and just wear a retainer. It depends on your teeth.
Three of the most common types of braces we fit are:
These are the most common type of retainers. Hawley retainers are made from an acrylic base which is moulded to your palate. A wire then holds your teeth in position. The acrylic base is available in different colours.
These retainers are made from clear plastic and are created from moulds taken of your teeth in their new position. Essix retainers resemble the Invisalign Aligners and are both comfortable and undetectable.
Bonded wire retainers
These retainers are permanent and are comprised of flexible thin wires which are accurately contoured and bonded to the inside surface of your teeth. They can be worn indefinitely, provided you follow the prescribed care instructions.
When to wear your retainer
Your removable retainer must be worn consistently, day and night, for up to 6 months following the end of treatment. This allows the bone and gum tissue to remodel around the new tooth positions. After this period we advise you to wear it each night for 3 months and then a further three months every alternate night.
The only time we advise you to remove your retainer is when you are eating, playing any contact sport, or when you’re brushing or flossing your teeth.
How to care for your retainer
Retainers are very sensitive appliances and must be handled carefully.
- Do not place your retainer in very hot or cold water as this can warp its shape
- Place your retainer in a retainer case when it is not in your mouth
- Wrap the retainer in a damp paper towel inside the case as this will prevent any warping of the plastic components.
- Be mindful of where you place your retainer. A lost retainer will not only incur additional cost but it could delay your treatment as you may have to wait while the orthodontic laboratory makes a new one.