Graduating from your orthodontic treatment to wearing a retainer is a pretty big deal. Congratulations! This means that your teeth are straight, healthy, and ready to be preserved for the rest of your life. Your retainer is the tool that will get you there, but it’s up to you to wear it diligently in order to preserve that stunning smile.
Be sure to have a team behind you that can help you through each and every challenge in your orthodontic treatment, including getting your retainer. Moon Orthodontics is here to do just that for patients in Overland Park, Olathe, and the surrounding areas. It could be your turn to graduate to a retainer and see what life is like with the straight teeth of your dreams.
So what is all the fuss about wearing a retainer anyway? Let’s learn more together.
The Purpose of a Retainer
Did you know that following your orthodontic treatment, your teeth need some time to rebuild and reset bones after shifting so much? It’s true! The process of adjusting your teeth with orthodontics makes them weaker and more prone to shifting in general, which is why it is imperative for you to wear your retainer 24/7 for those first weeks and months after finishing treatment. Only remove your retainer to eat, drink, and brush, and you are well on your way to preserving your lovely smile for life.
Even after those initial months are over, continuing to wear your retainer as instructed by Dr. Moon will be absolutely essential to preserve your straight teeth over time. As strange as it might be, your teeth are almost always working to shift back into their original arrangement and shape, and it’s a life-long process to keep them straight and aligned. After giving you the okay to only wear your retainer at night, don’t shirk this duty. By wearing your retainer every night, you will continue to see that smile that you have worked so hard for.
Surprisingly, there’s one more phenomenon that wearing your retainer can help with. As we age, almost everyone’s mouth will slowly begin to narrow, shifting teeth and making them susceptible to harm. Wearing your retainer for life will mitigate most of this physiological drift and help to keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime.
How Long Will You Need to Wear a Retainer?
You probably guessed this from the last section, but Dr. Moon and other orthodontists alike all agree–wearing your retainer indefinitely is the way to go. The prospect is a lot less daunting than it appears, and thankfully you will have the support of our entire office at your disposal to help you succeed. If you ever have issues with your retainer, like losing it, breaking it, or something else, you can get in touch with our team to help you resolve it as quickly as possible!
Types of Retainers
There are two common types of removable retainers that Dr. Moon suggests for his patients: the Hawley retainer and the Essix retainer. Hawley retainers are made up of acrylic and metal wires that press into the roof and bottom of your mouth and wrap around your teeth to hold them into place. Essix retainers look and work just like an Invisalign aligner, and is made of clear plastic that is a perfect mold of your teeth and presses right over the top of them to hold them together.
A fixed retainer on the other hand lives in your mouth permanently and is completely invisible. It’s made of a wire that is cemented along the back of your teeth to give constant support to those teeth and encourage them not to shift. This type of retainer is really convenient and obviously easy to use since you won’t ever need to take it out or in, and it’s easier to clean than braces! Just continue your regular brushing and flossing with a threader to get the floss underneath the retainer, and you are good to go!
How To Care for Your Removable Retainer
The first rule of thumb when considering how to take care of your removable retainer is to rinse it often. We recommend trying to rinse it off every time you take it out, like in the morning when you first brush your teeth, or when you are taking a lunch break. This will remove most of the saliva and other particles that get stuck on there and make them easier to clean later.
Plan to brush your retainers well at least once per day, preferably in the morning before storing them. Set a toothbrush aside for the job that won’t get used for regular brushing. This will prevent you from accidentally using toothpaste on your retainers, a substance that is surprisingly bad for the gentle surface of your retainer. Instead, use gentle hand soap or mouthwash to scrub your retainer all over and rinse well. That should do it to keep your retainer clean and ready for the next time you wear it.
If you notice your retainer getting a little dirty or dingy over time despite consistent cleaning, this could be a result of the natural mineral deposits in your saliva. It’s a quick fix to go grab some denture cleaning solution like Polident at the drug store and soak your retainer in that for the prescribed amount of time. After soaking, it should be simple to just brush your retainer off and it will be as good as new!
Let Moon Orthodontics Take Care of Your Teeth
There’s really no need to put off your orthodontic treatment any longer! Connect with the team that can make the process a breeze and provides you with all the support you need along the way–Moon Orthodontics! Plus, we offer a free consult to every new patient, so it’s free to find out more about which treatment options are your best fit. Give one of our offices in Overland Park or Olathe a call today, and we’ll set you up with your free appointment soon!