Retainers 101

Retainers 101
Posted on 01/21/2019
Retainers 101

Retainers 101

It’s the New Year, which means plenty of New Year’s resolutions. For 2019, make one of your resolutions to keep your teeth straight by properly using your retainer!

Orthodontists typically recommend wearing a retainer after completing orthodontic treatment. But what exactly is a retainer, why do you need to wear it, and how do you care for it?

What is a Retainer?

Retainers are custom-made orthodontic devices made to help prevent your teeth from moving out of their new straight positions after orthodontic treatment. There are two types of retainers we offer at our orthodontics practice: Essix and Fixed/Bonded retainers. Essix retainers are clear, removable, and do not involve any wires. Conversely, Fixed retainers, as the name implies, are fixed to the teeth and are not removable. Fixed retainers involve having thin wires attached to the back of the teeth with a special type of dental paste.

Some patients may have varying retention needs in terms of how long retainers should be worn. Typically we recommend a 12-month retention period; however, for the sake of your smile we ideally recommend wearing your retainers indefinitely. Your trusted orthodontist will have the best recommendations on when to wear your retainers and for how long. Note that not following recommendations from your orthodontist could lead to your teeth shifting back to the positions they were in before you wore braces, so it is important to follow your specific dental care instructions.

How to Take Care of Your Retainers

Because retainers are generally worn daily per your orthodontist’s instructions, they should also be cleaned daily. Bacteria, plaque, and leftover food particles can easily stick to your retainers, so they should be soaked in mouthwash or a denture-cleaning agent to kill those germs and freshen the appliances up. Whenever you are not wearing your retainers, you may want to consider letting them soak as well because retainers are made of plastic and plastic can crack if it gets too dry; it should always stay moist. The plastic can also warp, so be sure not to use warm water or leave retainers near a heat source.

Furthermore, retainers can be expensive, so taking good care of these appliances as part of your dental care routine also means not losing them. If you lose a retainer please let us know at one of our nine orthodontics offices and we will create a replacement before your next visit to the same location. If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer do not hesitate to contact us directly.

My Orthodontist Can Help You Keep Your Smile Straight!

Whether you need braces or a retainer, already have them, or just have questions about your appliances in general, your orthodontist and the whole team at My Orthodontist are ready to help keep your smile straight by addressing all of your orthodontic needs! Schedule an appointment online today with one of our nines offices! Our practice has locations in Lawrenceville, West New York, Cherry Hill, Deptford, East Orange, Paterson, Bayonne, and Medford New Jersey, as well as Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

My Orthodontist

  • Lawrenceville Office - 3131 Princeton Pike, Bldg. 1A, Suite 101, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 Phone: (609) 883-3636 Fax: (609) 883-3382
  • West New York Office - 431 59th St., West New York, NJ 07093 Phone: (201) 223-2700 Fax: 201-590-9560
  • Cherry Hill Office - 1940 E. Route 70, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 Phone: (856) 428-1441 Fax: 856-424-1309
  • Deptford Office - 1800 Clements Bridge Rd., Deptford Township, NJ 08096 Phone: (856) 845-7846 Fax: 856-251-0649
  • East Orange Office - 185 Central Ave., Suite 305, East Orange, NJ 07018 Phone: (973) 672-4141 Fax: 973-672-1005
  • Langhorne, PA Office - 586 Middletown Blvd., Suite C-10, Langhorne, PA 19047 Phone: (215) 750-7779 Fax: 215-750-7848
  • Bayonne Office - 1222 JFK Blvd., Bayonne, NJ 07002 Phone: (201) 355-2467
  • Paterson Office - 1010 Main St. 2nd Floor, Suite 8, Paterson, NJ 07503 Phone: (862) 881-4962
  • Medford Office - 686 Stokes Rd., Medford, NJ 08055 Phone: (609) 643-0023

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