Creating A Smile That Lasts

Before you know it, you’ll be coming into Lindsey Orthodontics to finally get those braces off your teeth or to check in with Dr. Lindsey after finishing up with your last Invisalign aligner. You’ll finally get to feast your eyes on your brand new, perfect smile after all this time. While we’ll be just as happy as you for finishing up your treatment, our job isn’t done yet; since we need to make sure that this new smile of yours lasts forever.

Post orthodontic care.

While you’ll be free of the brackets and bands that you’ve worn for so long, there is one final stage to your orthodontic treatment that is one of the most important, since getting your braces off or finishing with your Invisalign marks a very crucial stage for your teeth. This next stage is called retention, and its purpose is make sure that your teeth stay in this new, perfect positioning.

What Is Retention?

Retention is a follow-up treatment after your main orthodontic treatment, and it involves wearing a special orthodontic appliance called a retainer. There are several different kinds of retainers that you may get, but regardless of the type, the retainer is custom made just for you so it fits comfortably over your new smile. The retainer will hold your new teeth in place and preventing them from moving back to where they started before your treatment. You’ll usually be fitted for a retainer on the same day that you get your braces off.

Why Do I Need To Wear A Retainer?

While you’ve waited long enough to finally enjoy your brand new smile, you’re teeth actually need a little bit more time to adjust. The thing is, your teeth aren’t actually set into your jaw bone, and are instead held in place by a network of fibers called periodontal ligaments. While you teeth may have moved, these ligaments haven’t adjusted to their new positioning yet, and will naturally try to move your teeth back to the spots they were in before you started with your braces or Invisalign and undoing all of the time and effort you put in. By wearing your retainer, we can prevent the ligaments from moving your teeth so they stay right where they should be in perfect form!

What Types of Retainers Are There?

Types of orthodontic retainers.

There are three main types of retainers that you can choose from once you finish with your orthodontic treatment, each one having its own advantages at meeting specific needs of patients. These types of retainers are:

  • Hawley Retainers - These are thin, tongue shaped retainers made from acrylic that are crafted to fit comfortably in your mouth while a thin, metal wire keeps your teeth in place. Hawley retainers are easy to remove for when you eat or for your oral hygiene routine. They can even be personalized with different colors and patterns.
  • Clear Aligners - Similar to a standard Invisalign aligner, clear retainers simply slide over your teeth and are practically invisible since they don’t need a wire to keep your teeth in place. They are somewhat less durable compared to Hawley retainers, so make sure you take care of them so they aren’t damaged.
  • Fixed Retainers - These are most common for use on the bottom front teeth, using a wire that is permanently attached to the teeth to keep them in place. We use fixed retainers for patients that have a higher risk of having their teeth shift. Compared to other retainers, this is the only type that is not removable, but it makes caring for the retainer a bit easier.

The types of retainer that you will receive depends on your individual case, so Dr. Lindsey will determine which type best meets your needs at your appointment when you finish with your treatment.

Adjusting To Your New Retainer

Getting a brand new retainer is similar to when you first started with your braces or Invisalign, since it’s this new appliance that your mouth is not used to having. Some patients may experience increased saliva production or some difficulty with talking for the first few days, and will go away on their own. Also, if you’re coming from braces, you’ll need to get used to taking out your retainer before you eat and when you brush your teeth, but before you know it it’ll become second nature as a part of your daily routine.

How Often Do You Have To Wear Your Retainer?

Immediately after you finish with your braces or Invisalign, you’ll need to wear your retainer all day, every day for anywhere between a few months and a year. This length depends on how likely it is your teeth are to move back into their old positioning, which we’ll be able to determine with regular check ups. After your teeth and periodontal ligaments have adjusted more, you’ll be able to start wearing your retainer only at night, and then even later, just a few nights each week.

How To Properly Care For Your Retainer

Your retainer is essential for keeping your teeth straight, but can also be one of the biggest contributors to tooth decay if it’s not cared for properly. If food particles and bacteria are left on your teeth or your retainer from when you eat, the extra pressure of the retainer being up against your teeth will accelerate that bacteria’s rate of eating away at your teeth. To prevent this from happening, you need to make sure you clean your retainer regularly. To do this, just give your retainer a light brushing with your toothbrush with a little bit of soap or toothpaste, which will be enough to clear away all of the bacteria that may be on it. Another option is to soak your retainer in some water with a denture cleaning solution. On top of cleaning your retainer, you need to keep your teeth clean too with a thorough brushing and flossing routine.

Other than keeping it clean, you also need to make sure that you never lose or break your retainer, since creating a new one can be costly and time consuming. To make sure you can easily keep track of your retainer, always put your retainer in a case and take it with you. To prevent damage, never expose your retainer to extremely hot temperatures, since it can easily become warped and no longer it properly.

Contact Lindsey Orthodontics For More Information

If you have any questions about the retention process, just contact us at Lindsey Orthodontics and we’ll be more than happy to help you. For any assistance with your current retainer, you can always schedule an appointment with us at either of our local orthodontic offices in Griffin or Locust Grove, GA. We look forward to helping you achieve your best smile, so come join the Lindsey Orthodontic family and get the high-quality orthodontic care that you deserve.

Lindsey Orthodontics

  • Griffin Office - 120 W. College St., Suite A, Griffin, GA 30224 Phone: 770-228-1223
  • Locust Grove Office - 4600 Bill Gardner Pkwy, Suite 100, Locust Grove, GA 30248 Phone: 770-914-7994

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