Why Do I Need to Wear a Retainer

At Stacy Wolf Orthodontics, we love supporting our patients who come into the office asking questions or needing assistance. That’s why we’re here! When it comes to retainers, we’ve shared a lot of wisdom over the years, and we have more to offer. Keep on reading to learn more about just how important retainers are to your teeth, and how to take care of them! Learning to wear and clean a retainer will equal healthier teeth for a lifetime, so it’s worth the effort!

Why Are Retainers Important?

They Allow Bones to Rebuild

The more you learn about teeth, the cooler they are. Did you know that as your teeth shift during orthodontic treatment, they lose some of their bone density, making it easier to move? It’s true! That’s one of the reasons why you have to be very careful with what you eat and how you clean your teeth while you undergo treatment. 

Now that the braces are off or the clear retainers are done, it’s time to let your teeth rest and regain some of their density and strength. By wearing your retainer at all times for the first few months after treatment, you will help your teeth anchor and get more settled in their new alignment. If you forget to wear your retainer for even a few hours you may feel a big difference. That’s why it’s important to follow Dr. Stacy Wolf’s instructions for how long you should wear your retainer, and only shift when she gives you the okay.

They Prevent Teeth From Shifting Later

It’s not only immediately after treatment that you need to be cautious about wearing your retainer. Your teeth are capable of moving at any time, meaning it’s important to keep wearing your retainer at night indefinitely. You have likely heard horror stories of people needing to repeat their treatment all over again because they neglected to wear their retainer. These stories are true and preventable! Learn that lesson now, and continue wearing your retainer!

They Help Avoid Physiological Drift

Have you heard of physiological drift? It’s not a term people outside of the dental community hear often, but it refers to one of the natural aging processes where your mouth narrows over time. When the mouth becomes more narrow, it means crowding, shifting, and even losing teeth in some cases. 

Orthodontics by themselves can help mitigate some of the effects of physiological drift, but an even better long-term solution is to continue wearing your retainer. By maintaining proper alignment of the teeth and jaw, you can prevent drift from taking place and wreaking havoc with your teeth.

How Long Will You Need to Wear a Retainer?

It’s time to buckle in because a commitment to a retainer is a commitment for life. Dr. Stacy Wolf will oversee your retainer for the first few months or years after you finish treatment, but eventually, it comes down to you to be consistent to maintain your smile for life. 

Most people will end up wearing their retainer only at night time, and cleaning their retainer once a day. Building your retainer routine won’t take long, and before you know it you are set up for life-long success! Let’s learn a bit more about how to wear and care for each common retainer type. 

Types of Retainers

Hawley & Essix Retainers

These types of retainers are what we call removable retainers. This means that you put them in and take them out regularly depending on Dr. Stacy Wolf’s recommendations or if you are eating or drinking. Hawley retainers are made from acrylic and metal wire that sits on the roof of the mouth and attaches around your teeth, holding them into place. 

An Essix retainer works just like an Invisalign retainer, meaning that it is made from clear plastic that perfectly fits over each set of teeth in order to hold them in place. Both the acrylic and the plastic that these retainers are made from can be sensitive to heat, so it’s important to clean them with only lukewarm water. They can also be easily lost since they come in and out so often, so be sure to have a case on hand to store them for safekeeping. 

Fixed Retainers

A fixed retainer on the other hand is secured there by your doctor, and should stay in forever! They are made of a thin metal wire that stretches across the backside of your teeth and is cemented in order to hold the teeth in alignment. There are many perks to this form of retainer, especially since you won’t need to remember to remove or replace them, and they are fairly easy to clean along with your regular cleaning routine. Just be sure to use a floss threader to get underneath the wire every day so that those teeth are flossed as well!

How To Care for Your Retainer

Caring for a removable retainer is super simple once you know how. We recommend removing it first thing in the morning and rinsing it well to remove saliva and stuck-on gunk. Then take a toothbrush and a mild cleanser like hand soap to scrub all over the retainer. Simply rinse it well, and it should be clean and ready to go! 

By chance if you’ve noticed some buildup inside your retainer, this is fairly normal as well and usually comes from the mineral deposits in your saliva. When the buildup won’t come off with brushing, it’s time to give it a nice soak in a denture cleaning solution to loosen it up and brush it off. 

Why Do I Need to Wear a RetainerLet Stacy Wolf Orthodontics Take Care of Your Teeth

Need help with your retainer? Or ready to get started on your own treatment for healthier, straight teeth? Then give Stacy Wolf Orthodontics a call! We love caring for our patients and providing tons of support and information to help them thrive throughout their treatment and beyond. Set up an appointment to learn more today, and take advantage of our free consult appointment! We hope to see you in our office soon!