Orthodontic Retainers: Do’s And Don’ts For Proper Care
Orthodontic retainers are custom-made plastic or metal devices that hold your teeth in position after the period of teeth realigning or treatment with braces.
Braces are expensive, so retainers protect your investment by holding your teeth in their new, corrected position. Kids notoriously forget to wear their retainers, and it is common for teeth to shift back to their original place, which is frustrating for any parent.
Retainers can be:
- Removable – They are put on and removed daily by the individual wearer. Most are transparent trays made of plastic-like material. Some removable retainers have metal wire attachments as well.
- Fixed – These retainers are custom-fitted wires bonded on the tongue-side of the teeth, both on the upper and lower teeth.
TYPES OF RETAINERS
1. Bonded retainers are permanent retainers custom-fitted mainly on the lower front teeth and occasionally on the upper teeth. The bonded retainers prevent the teeth from future movement where there are large spaces between the teeth.
2. Hawley retainers are the most common retainers. They are reliable and durable. They are made of a plastic base with wires to fit around a patient’s teeth. The retainers prevent the teeth from going back to their original position.
3. Essix retainers are tray-like transparent retainers for a low-profile appearance and are removable during meals or when brushing your teeth. Your orthodontist in Queen, NY, tailors the retainers for your smile and in the shape of your teeth.
WHAT ARE THE DO’S WHEN WEARING RETAINERS?
1. Know when to wear retainers
Many orthodontic professionals advise patients to wear retainers nightly for the rest of their lives. However, your dental doctor will offer you a prescription for when and how long you should wear retainers.
2. Remove retainers before eating.
You should remove your retainers when eating. Removal helps keep the retainers clean as tough food can stick to a retainer if an individual wears one while eating. Always brush your teeth after every meal before putting a retainer back in your mouth.
3. Clean your retainers
Thoroughly clean and rinse your retainers with denture cleaner and a recommended retainer cleaning solution. Also, clean your retainers with toothpaste before bedtime and upon waking up.
WHAT ARE THE DON’TS WHEN WEARING RETAINERS?
1. Eating candy
Avoid sticky candy-like gummy worms and taffy, as they destroy retainers. Also, retainers can accumulate plaque, just like teeth. You can drink water when wearing retainers but remove them when drinking beverages or soft drinks.
2. Careless care for your retainers
Don’t wrap your retainers in a napkin or tissue when you remove them. Instead, put them in the container the orthodontist gives you to protect them from drying out or getting thrown away. Keep retainers away from pets, mainly dogs, because they will chew and destroy them.
3. Exposing retainers to heat
Excess heat will destroy the structure of your retainers. Therefore, don’t sterilize them with boiling water. Also, don’t leave retainers outside exposed for long hours but keep them in a cool place, out of the sun, whenever you aren’t wearing them.
CAN YOU EAT WITH RETAINERS
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU EAT WITH YOUR RETAINERS?
Because individuals can take out removable retainers themselves, there is no reason to skip this step. You should also remove your retainer while chewing gum. If you regularly wear your retainer while eating, your teeth will likely shift since the constant chewing movement will inevitably loosen the retainer’s fit.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD CAN YOU EAT WITH PERMANENT RETAINERS?
If you have permanent retainers, avoid hard and sticky foods. Foods like nuts, hard candies, and popcorn are likely to exert pressure on the location of bonded retainers, causing them to break. Many people like to chew ice to relieve stress, but you should avoid doing this if you have a permanent retainer.
ARE THERE RETAINERS THAT WILL STRAIGHTEN YOUR TEETH?
Yes. You can work with an orthodontist near you if your teeth are a bit crowded or crooked to get a custom retainer to correct your teeth.
HOW MUCH DO RETAINERS COST IN NYC?
The average cost of permanent retainers ranges between $150-$500 to place them in the mouth or replace or repair a broken piece. Traditional Hawley retainers cost $150-600. Replaceable retainers like Essix cost between $400-$800.
If you are interested in exploring your retainer options, reach out to Amazing Smiles to discuss what will work best for you!