Whether you're in need of your first retainer after getting braces off, or you're in the market for a replacement, the first step is to get in touch with your dentist. Make an appointment today to be fitted for a new dental retainer in Erie, PA!
Dental retainers are designed to keep your teeth straight, even when your orthodontic treatments are over! These appliances are a very important part of maintaining your shapely smile. Without this important phase of the process, your teeth could go crooked again, spread out, or push together throughout growth and even into adulthood. Avoid additional orthodontic treatments by consistently wearing your teeth retainer as directed by your dentist.
What you need from a retainer is going to be different depending on whether you had braces as a teen or adult. As a general rule, we recommend that teenagers wear their retainers at least until they finish growing (at roughly the age of 18, to be safe), and that adults wear them indefinitely.
Retainers are the last vital element of orthodontic treatment.
Dental retainers come in two general forms — removable and fixed retainers.
This type of retainer is usually just worn at night while you're sleeping. During the day, you can take the retainer out to clean. When you're done, put it away in a safe spot until you go to bed again.
Fixed teeth retainers (aka "lingual bars") consist of a fine wire that is glued to the back of your teeth (tongue side). These are generally left in place for an extended period of time. Think multiple years.
The great thing about this type of dental retainer is that you don't have to worry about losing it! And just like removable retainers, these fixed retainers can be fitted to either your top or bottom row of teeth...or both!
The disadvantage of having this, is that due to the permanence of it, it can be tougher to maintain hygienically in that area of your teeth. You may be more prone to building up plaque around the retainer.
Do I have to wear my retainer forever?
In short, yes, you should wear your retainer forever. For the first couple of months, it is recommended that you wear your retainer continuously (removing it when you eat or drink anything besides water). After the first couple of months, you can wear your retainer only at night, every night.
What is the purpose of a retainer?
A retainer is custom-made to the shape of your teeth and is used to maintain the newly-positioned teeth. Retainers are an important part of post-orthodontic care. They can also be used to treat minor orthodontic problems.
How do I clean my retainer?
It is important to clean your retainer after every use (or every night before bed if you are wearing it continuously). You can clean your retainer by brushing it with your toothbrush and toothpaste. For a deeper clean, mix lukewarm water with mild dish soap. Use a soft toothbrush to gently brush away plaque and other debris then rinse.
What do I do if I lose my retainer?
If you lost your removable dental retainer, it is important to get a replacement right away! Teeth can shift more quickly than you would expect, especially early in the post-orthodontic process. Getting a new retainer as soon as possible reduces the chance of teeth moving and can reduce the chances of discomfort when you finally put your new one on for the first time.
How long do removable retainers last?
Removable retainers last about a year, on average. This is because the plastic or polyurethane they are made of is not as strong as metal, and overtime the wear and tear from teeth friction and cleaning can weaken it. Thankfully, it is easy to get a replacement if you start noticing cracks or breaks in your removable retainer
Make an appointment to get a replacement, today!
Do fixed retainers require any maintenance?
Yes. Fixed retainers do require some maintenance. To care for your fixed retainer, simply brush and floss your teeth as you normally would. If you're having trouble flossing with the wire in the way, consider using a Waterpik flosser instead. In some scenarios, you can begin to form more plaque around the retainer if you are not cleaning thoroughly.
The only significant maintenance you will ever need for a fixed retainer is if it comes loose at any point. If this happens, try not to mess with it (if it's still partially adhered), and make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.