After orthodontic treatment, we always recommend wearing a retainer to protect your investment. At Dougherty Orthodontics, we offer several different types of comfortable and effective retainers to keep your teeth in the proper position. The type of retainer we recommend depends on the length of your treatment and the severity of your orthodontic issues.
The Importance of a Retainer
It may take a couple of years, and several appliances, to move your teeth into the proper alignment. Because orthodontic treatment is a fairly substantial time and financial commitment, we strive to ensure our patients experience long-lasting results. Once your treatment is complete, Harry L. Dougherty DDS, MS typically fabricates a custom-fit retainer to prevent your teeth from shifting out of their proper position.
In the weeks, months, and even years following orthodontic treatment, most teeth are not permanently fixed in position. It takes time for the ligaments, connective tissues, and underlying bone to adjust their new alignment. In the meantime, a retainer will keep your teeth where they belong, preventing the need for additional orthodontics later down the line.
Types of Retainers
There are three main types of retainers we may recommend:
||Hawley Wire Retainer: This is the traditional type of retainer with an acrylic base that fits over the palate. Along with the base, metal clasps and a thin wire help keep your retainer and teeth in the proper position.
||Clear Plastic Retainer: This type of retainer is similar to a clear aligner tray. Many of our patients opt for a clear plastic retainer due to the superior comfort and discretion that comes with wearing a tray. Clear retainers can also prevent you from grinding your teeth during sleep if you suffer from nocturnal bruxism.
||Permanent Bonded Retainer: This type of retainer may be necessary to maintain a significant realignment. During a quick and easy procedure, we bond a thin metal wire to the back or your teeth, usually in the lower arch, which keeps the retainer hidden from view. Many children and teenagers benefit from permanent bonded retainers because compliance is not an issue.
Caring for Your Retainer
For the first few months following your treatment, we will ask you to wear your removable retainer close to full-time. After a while, we may advise you to transition to nighttime use only.
Properly caring for your retainer is just as important as wearing it. Be sure to thoroughly clean your retainer at least once a day with a toothbrush and warm water. The goal is to remove plaque and bacteria buildup, which also eliminates odors and reduces your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
You should remove your retainer before meals. While the retainer is out of your mouth, always keep it in its case, especially if you are at a restaurant. Placing a retainer in a napkin is one of the easiest ways to lose or accidentally discard it.
Be sure to exercise caution when handling your retainer. Dropping it can cause significant damage and the need for a repair or replacement. With the proper care and maintenance, your retainer should last for many years!
Schedule an Appointment
If you have any questions about retainers, our team is happy to help. Call (818) 986-6223 to schedule your appointment today!