Congratulations on getting your ceramic braces or traditional braces off! We bet you can’t stop smiling. Now that you have your perfect smile, we want to keep your bite and teeth in the same position that they are now. Keeping your teeth in their proper position is just as important as moving them there. For this reason, you must wear your retainer EVERY night for the first year. And after that, at least 3-4 nights per week FOREVER. . .that’s right. . .FOREVER.
At New England Orthodontic Specialists, we specialize in the three types of retainers. We typically fabricate a retainer immediately following the removal of your braces or the completion of your clear aligners. Our orthodontists will review your options, answer any questions, and help you choose the appropriate appliance.
The oldest and most common type of retainer is the "Hawley." The Hawley retainer consists of an acrylic base with a metal wire that sits against your front teeth. The acrylic base also has metal clasps that hook around your back teeth to hold the retainer in place. A Hawley retainer can be used for the upper and lower arches, depending on your situation.
We scan an image of your teeth and gums with a iTero Intraoral 3D Scanner to ensure your Hawley retainer is comfortable and effective. Because this custom-fit retainer is removable, your dedication to treatment is vital. With the proper care and maintenance, your Hawley retainer should last for many years.
Clear plastic retainer
A clear plastic retainer is also a removable retainer. This option has become increasingly popular in recent years. The retainer is similar to a clear aligner, in that it is highly discreet. Most people will not notice you have your retainer in unless you point it out.
Unlike clear aligners, a plastic retainer will not apply pressure to your teeth. Instead, it is designed to fit precisely over your teeth and maximize comfort. While they are not as durable as Hawley retainers, many people find their comfort and discretion very appealing.
Fixed bonded retainer
A fixed bonded retainer, as the name suggests, is a non-removable appliance. This type of retainer typically consists of a thin wire that is bonded directly to the back surfaces of your anterior (front) teeth. In most cases, a fixed bonded retainer is used to retain the teeth in the bottom arch.
We may recommend a fixed bonded retainer if you are at a higher risk for your teeth shifting back to their original position. Because it is bonded to the back of your teeth, a fixed retainer is also very discreet. We typically keep the appliance in place for several years.
Even if you choose to have fixed retainers to help maintain your teeth, you still must wear a removable retainer that will fit over the fixed retainer every night. For more questions regarding retainer options, speak with your orthodontist.
Caring for your retainer
||When removing your retainer, be careful to apply equal pressure to both sides. Don’t pull on one side or it may crack.
||Don’t expose your retainer to extreme heat. The appliance will melt. Never leave it in a hot car or near the stove. Never put it in boiling water.
||Clean by brushing with a toothbrush and water or mouthwash. Soak your retainer in an appropriate retainer cleaner, such as Retainer Brite, or a denture cleaner, as often as needed to prevent build-up.
||Keep your retainer in its case when you aren’t wearing it. This keeps it safe from breaking and prevents loss. Please don’t wrap it in a napkin and put it in your pocket. This usually results in retainers being trashed or damaged. Also never put it lose in your backpack or pocket where it may become bent or damaged. They are costly to replace.
||If you have pets, keep your retainer out of their reach. They will destroy it and even chew through the case.
||If you are wearing a bonded retainer, you must floss like you did when you were wearing braces.
Please bring your retainer with you to all follow-up appointments. If you lose or break your retainer, or you feel like it doesn’t fit properly, please call our office immediately so your teeth will not shift. There is a fee for lost or broken retainers.
Schedule an appointment
To learn more about our orthodontic treatment call (978) 529-3030, and schedule an appointment today.