Posts for tag: Retainer
For nearly two decades, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has dominated the pop and country charts. In December she launched her ninth studio album, called evermore, and in January she delighted fans by releasing two bonus tracks. And although her immense fame earns her plenty of celebrity gossip coverage, she's managed to avoid scandals that plague other superstars. She did, however, run into a bit of trouble a few years ago—and there's video to prove it. It seems Taylor once had a bad habit of losing her orthodontic retainer on the road.
She's not alone! Anyone who's had to wear a retainer knows how easy it is to misplace one. No, you won't need rehab—although you might get a mild scolding from your dentist like Taylor did in her tongue-in-cheek YouTube video. You do, though, face a bigger problem if you don't replace it: Not wearing a retainer could undo all the time and effort it took to acquire that straight, beautiful smile. That's because the same natural mechanism that makes moving teeth orthodontically possible can also work in reverse once the braces or clear aligners are removed and no longer exerting pressure on the teeth. Without that pressure, the ligaments that hold your teeth in place can “remember” where the teeth were originally and gradually move them back.
A retainer prevents this by applying just enough pressure to keep or “retain” the teeth in their new position. And it's really not the end of the world if you lose or break your retainer. You can have it replaced with a new one, but that's an unwelcome, added expense.
You do have another option other than the removable (and easily misplaced) kind: a bonded retainer, a thin wire bonded to the back of the teeth. You can't lose it because it's always with you—fixed in place until the orthodontist removes it. And because it's hidden behind the teeth, no one but you and your orthodontist need to know you're wearing it—something you can't always say about a removable one.
Bonded retainers do have a few disadvantages. The wire can feel odd to your tongue and may take a little time to get used to it. It can make flossing difficult, which can increase the risk of dental disease. However, interdental floss picks can help here. And although you can't lose it, a bonded retainer can break if it encounters too much biting force—although that's rare.
Your choice of bonded or removable retainer depends mainly on your individual situation and what your orthodontist recommends. But, if losing a retainer is a concern, a bonded retainer may be the way to go. And take if from Taylor: It's better to keep your retainer than to lose it.
If you would like more information about protecting your smile after orthodontics, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”
BRACES REMOVAL DAY is the most exciting day of any orthodontic patient’s treatment, but it’s not where the story ends. Next come the retainers, to make sure that smile stays properly aligned. But how do we keep our retainers in good condition, and why are they so important?
Why Do We Need Retainers?
It would be nice if our teeth stayed exactly where our braces left them: perfectly straight for the rest of our lives. Sadly, this isn’t how teeth work. They are held in place by periodontal ligaments, and these ligaments take time to adjust to their new position. Neglecting your retainer allows those ligaments to tug those teeth back to where they were before you had braces! This is why it’s crucial not only to wear your retainer as directed, but to take good care of it.
Cleaning Removable Retainers
Removable retainers come in two basic varieties: Hawley (the classic retainer made of wire fixed to a fitted acrylic plate) and Essix (clear plastic retainers). The different types require slightly different approaches when it comes to cleaning. Make sure to follow these steps so that your retainer doesn’t become smelly and full of tartar deposits.
A cheap and easy way to clean your Hawley retainer is by soaking it in baking soda water. Doing this every day would damage the soldered metal pieces, so it’s important to only do this once in a while. Baking soda is a safer solution than effervescent tablets, especially if you have allergies. You should also avoid using mouthwash, which can dry the acrylic out to the point of damaging it.
It’s important to brush your Essix retainer as often as you brush your teeth — but hold the toothpaste, because it could scratch the plastic. Also make sure that the water you use to rinse it is lukewarm. Hot water will warp the retainer’s shape. Soaking in baking soda water is a great way to deep-clean an Essix retainer too, and there isn’t any metal solder to worry about, so you can do this as often as you like.
Cleaning A Permanent Retainer
These are great tips for cleaning removable retainers, but what if you have a permanent retainer — the kind cemented to the backs of your teeth? Easy! Just clean these the same way you kept your braces clean: diligent brushing and flossing.
It can be tricky to floss around a permanent retainer, but it’s crucial for keeping tartar from building up around it and the backs of your teeth. Threaders and special floss designed for retainers can make this process easier, and you might even consider getting a water flosser if you don’t already have one.
If You Need More Tips On Retainer Care, Just Ask!
Whatever kind of retainer you use, you can always bring yours to our office or to your dentist for cleaning and inspection. We want to help you make sure that retainer lasts!