The Finishing Touch for Your Brand New Smile
When your braces come off or you take out your last set of Invisalign® aligners, you’ll have the beautiful, straight smile you’ve always wanted. In order to keep it that way, you’ll have to wear an orthodontic retainer. We know, we know, it’s one more step, but it’s well worth it, because wearing a retainer is the only way to preserve and stabilize your results. Your retainer holds your teeth in their final alignment while the surrounding bone, gums and ligaments adjust to the new positioning of your teeth. If you don’t wear a retainer after braces or Invisalign, your teeth will shift.
Types of Dental Retainers
At Cronin & Czarnik Orthodontics, we create custom-made retainers for our patients once they finish orthodontic treatment. Options include:
A Hawley retainer is probably what comes to mind when you hear the word “retainer.” This traditional retainer is removable and consists of a metal wire that wraps around the front teeth. The wire is attached to an acrylic piece that sits against the roof of the mouth. The metal wire can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the front teeth as needed.
Aligner-style, clear retainers, or Essix retainers, look similar to Invisalign aligners and offer a more aesthetic alternative to wire retainers. They’re crafted from a durable, clear, thermoplastic material and are removable. Your clear retainer may fit over the entire arch of your teeth, or only from canine to canine (clip-on retainer). The retainer will be produced from a mold of your newly aligned smile.
Both Hawley retainers and clear retainers are easy to use and care for. However, it’s important to keep in mind that they only work if you wear them! So be sure to follow Dr. Cronin and Dr. Czarnik’s retainer instructions. Depending on your needs, you may wear your retainer full-time at first before transitioning to wearing it only at night. We recommend nighttime wear for life to keep your smile looking its best.
To help your retainer last for years:
- Take your retainer out before brushing and flossing and eating or drinking anything aside from plain water. Food may cause damage and hot liquids can warp the material. If you have a clear retainer, liquid and food debris can also get trapped between your retainer and your teeth, increasing your risk of staining and tooth decay.
- Store your retainer in its case whenever you take it out! Putting your retainer on a napkin or tissue while you eat is a surefire way to accidentally toss it in the trash. Using your retainer case will also prevent pets from damaging your appliance.
- Keep your retainer bacteria and odor-free by cleaning it regularly. As for how to clean retainers, you can use a mild, unscented dish soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse it off with lukewarm (not hot) water.
- If you’d like to deep clean your retainer a few times a week, soak your retainer in a DIY vinegar solution (mix one part distilled white vinegar with three parts warm water) for 15 to 30 minutes and then rinse it off. Retainer cleaning tablets and denture cleaners are also safe for many retainers, but it’s a good idea to run the product by us first before using it.
- If your retainer breaks or you forget to wear it for a while and it no longer fits, call us right away so we can repair it or make you a replacement.
- Bring your retainer with you to appointments.
Confident Smiles Start With Expert Care
Don’t let your smile insecurities hold you back! As a top orthodontist in Westminster, CO, we have the knowledge and expertise to achieve fantastic results for patients of all ages. Whether you have slightly crooked teeth, severe orthodontic concerns or anything in between, our doctors will tailor treatment to your unique needs. To get started, schedule a complimentary consultation today!