How to Take Super Care [of Your Retainers]

The time has finally arrived and your child’s braces are coming off. Bravo! Now your child will need to wear retainers to maintain those healthy, beautiful teeth. The job of retainers is to prevent your child’s teeth from moving back into their former uneven position. Now that your braces are off, you only have one responsibility left to ensure that your teeth stay in their perfect condition: you have to take care of your retainers. The importance of retainers is to make sure that your beautiful teeth stay that way.


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About Retainers

Firstly, the doctor will make an impression of the teeth and decide which type of retainer will work best for your child’s teeth and lifestyle. Your doctor will recommend the best style of retainer for your child’s maintenance. The retainer will be made specifically for your child’s mouth and it may be either removable or permanent. Three common types of retainers are:

  • Hawley Retainer: This traditional type of removable retainer is made from acrylic and wire. It’s comfortable to wear while keeping your teeth in place and it comes in a choice of colors.
  • Essix Retainer: This removable retainer is clear in appearance, much like Invisalign aligners, and fits snugly over your teeth. There is no metal or wire in this retainer and no one will know that you’re wearing them.
  • Bonded Retainer: This is a bonding of wires to the inside of canine and lower teeth. While permanently affixed to your teeth, no one will know that you’re wearing them.


Caring for your Hawley & Removable Retainers

  1.  Gently brush the retainers with toothpaste and warm water.
  2.  Always put the retainer in its container when not being worn.
  3.  Keep retainers away from very hot surfaces such as a microwave or dashboard.
  4.  Do not put a retainer in your pocket, purse, or backpack unless it is in its container.
  5.  Do not put a retainer in a washing machine or dishwasher.
  6.  Bonded retainers can be cleaned by gently brushing the wires with toothpaste and rinsing with warm water.


Caring for your Fixed or bonded Retainers

  1. Grab a 6-inch piece of floss and use a floss threader to thread the floss between your two front lower teeth.
  2. Hold one end of the floss with your fingers and the other with the threader.
  3. Once you get the floss under your retainer wire, simply move it up and down between the teeth all the way to the gum line. The floss should gently go below the gum line if possible.
  4. Slide the floss sideways to the next area you want to clean. Pull down until it’s between your teeth.
  5. Repeat this process with each tooth that’s attached to your permanent retainer.


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Use as Instructed

Whatever type you and your orthodontist choose, it’s important to wear it regularly for as long as your orthodontist recommends. During the initial period (the first year after your braces come off) you will wear it 24/7 for several months. Later, your orthodontist will tell you that it’s OK to wear it only at night — every night.

After another year goes by, you can wear it several nights per week. If you totally stop wearing your retainer, your teeth will shift, particularly if you had extractions. Why go to all this trouble and expense, only to have to get braces again?


What Happens if you Fail to Clean your Retainers

Plaque and tartar form in your mouth while you wear it. Bad smells or tastes will occour too. If your immune system is compromised , you are more likely to suffer illnesses. Moreover, retainers can carry dangerous illness causing bacteria like:

  • Streptococcus
  • Lactobacillus
  • S. sanguinis
  • Veillonella
  • S. mitis
  • S. salivarius
  • Candida albicans.



A FREE Consultation Awaits

Your teeth are intended to last a lifetime. Accordingly, our job is to make your teeth straight and beautiful. We invite you to call us today for a consultation or to make an appointment with Drs. Nease and Higginbotham. We are a patient friendly practice with three convenient locations in Spartanburg, Duncan, and Gaffney.

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Spartanburg Office
2455 E. Main Street
Spartanburg, SC 29307
Phone: (864) 579-7700

How to Take Super Care [of Your Retainers]


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