Tips For Fixed Retainer Care

For Healthy Teeth and A Healthy Smile

male teen smilingIf you or someone in your family is currently wearing braces, chances are they will need a retainer when it’s time for their braces to come off or when they have completed Invisalign therapy. Do you know why?

Retainers do a great job of holding teeth in place so that your gums, ligaments, and facial bones can grow into their new positions. It also keeps your teeth from returning back to the position they were in before you got braces, otherwise known as relapse. This means the time and money you invested in braces won’t be wasted.

Some of the most common questions ARCH Orthodontics patients ask our team of orthodontists usually have to do what a retainer is and the best ways they can care for it.

What’s The Difference Between Removable And Fixed Retainers?

Removable retainers: A removable retainer does exactly what its name suggests. You can take it out when you’re brushing and flossing for maximum ease and comfort. Generally, we tell our patients to wear their removable retainer at night while they’re sleeping. They can be very effective at doing their job, but only if the patient remembers to wear regularly as directed. There are a few options we can recommend for you!

Fixed retainers: A fixed retainer is one of the most common kinds of retainers patients will use. It’s made up of a thin, metal wire that’s bonded to the back of your teeth. It’s fixed or non-movable so never have to worry about forgetting to wear it or losing it. It’s a “get it and forget it” solution.

Care Tips For Fixed Retainers

  1. Brushing – Wearing a retainer usually lasts for at least two years after you get your braces off, so it’s important that you understand how to brush your teeth properly. Take care to angle your brush properly and take enough time to make sure you clean the surface of your teeth — specifically behind your fixed retainer. Be thorough but also be gentle to ensure you don’t cause damage to the metal wire.
  2. Flossing – Proper flossing can be a bit tricky with a removable retainer. Consider using a Waterpik, floss threader, or special orthodontic dental floss to help you get your teeth clean.
  3. Keep Seeing The Dentist – Because there can be some difficulties associated with keeping your teeth and retainer debris-free, it’s a good idea stay on top of your regular dental checkups. This will help ensure plaque buildup and gingivitis risks are kept under control.
  4. Avoid Damaging Foods – If you had traditional orthodontics or metal braces, you understand how important it is to steer clear of foods that can cause damage. The same goes for your permanent retainer.  Try to avoid or moderate how much you eat of these foods:
  • Popcorn
  • Ice
  • Crunchy, sticky snacks
  • Nuts

If you have questions or concerns about how to care for your retainer, whether it’s fixed or removable, don’t hesitate to call any of our nine ARCH Orthodontics locations in the greater Boston area. We can help answer your questions and even schedule you for an appointment, if necessary.

Visit our offices in Bridgewater, Brockton, Randolph, Canton, Westwood, Orleans, Hyannis, Hyde Park, and Stoughton.