Once you complete orthodontic treatment, retainers help ensure that your teeth don’t shift out of place. At Schwartz Orthodontics in Algonquin, Illinois, Robert Schwartz, DDS, MS, offers fixed and removable retainers to maintain your newly improved smile. Wearing a retainer is essential after orthodontic treatment. To schedule an appointment, call Schwartz Orthodontics today.
A retainer is an orthodontic appliance that holds your teeth in place after treatment. If you’ve recently completed an orthodontic treatment like braces or clear aligners, a retainer ensures your teeth can’t shift out of their new position. While there are different types of retainers, most include solid or braided wires that curve to match the shape of your mouth.
Depending on your individualized orthodontic treatment plan, Dr. Schwartz may recommend either a removable or fixed retainer.
A removable retainer is not a fixed appliance. You can take your retainer out to eat and drink anything but water. Removable retainers offer many advantages over fixed devices. They’re easy to clean and allow you to brush and floss without the barrier of a cemented appliance.
However, removable retainers can be easy to misplace. If you don’t wear them as often as instructed, your teeth can also shift back to their original position.
A fixed retainer is a thin wire that bonds to the back of your teeth. These appliances are not removable, so you can’t take them out to clean. However, they’re more discreet than removable retainers and impossible to lose. Fixed retainers are typically permanent and require regular monitoring.
Your teeth continue shifting throughout your life, and the first six months after braces removal is a critical period for movement. That’s why Dr. Schwartz at Schwartz Orthodontics always recommends wearing your retainer all the time for at least six months after treatment. After that, you can switch to nights only.
Once you reach the one-year mark, you can begin wearing your retainer once a week. Around this time, Dr. Schwartz will also take radiographs to evaluate your progress and make recommendations regarding your wisdom teeth if you still have them.
If you have a removable retainer, make sure to keep it away from excessive heat. Dishwashers, heaters, and car dashboards can all erode the thermoplastic materials in retainers. Since retainers are easy to misplace and vulnerable to bacteria buildup, always carry your case with you.
To keep your retainer clean and free of plaque, rinse and scrub the appliance with a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap.
For more information on retainers, call Schwartz Orthodontics today.