What’s the 411 with Retainers?

Dentist in Bloomfield Hills MI Retainers

When it comes to retainers, there is a lot of information out there that could skew your perception of them. As your Bloomfield Hills dentist, Dr. Glenn Spencer and his team want to help clear the air so you’ll know what you need to know about your retainer. 

Retainer Purpose

A retainer helps secure your teeth’s new alignment after they’ve been positioned from braces or Invisalign®. Retainers do not align teeth or correct improper alignment, they just help maintain proper positioning. 

A retainer is a necessary step after braces or Invisalign, otherwise the results of your alignment therapy could be lost. Your teeth will slowly move towards their original positions over time, and retainers help prevent that from happening. 

If you happen to not wear your retainer for a day and a half, don’t panic. Just be sure to wear it again during normal scheduled times. Any minimal shifts in that period won’t have solidified yet, so in that case, the retainer will still work to keep your teeth where you want them.

Retainer Care

You should clean your retainer regularly just like you do your teeth. If a retainer sits in your mouth it’s going to collect the same things that build up on your teeth: plaque and tartar.

Be sure to clean your retainer every night in a cleaning solution like Efferdent and also use a low-abrasion toothpaste to gently brush the retainer. This helps ensure that the mouthpiece is sanitary and won’t put you at risk for things like gum disease or other oral hygiene concerns.

Retainer Types

Not everyone will have the same type of retainer, as some are better for different types of oral treatments. These are the most common retainers:

  • The Essix (Clear) Retainer: This piece fits over your teeth like a shell. It’s clear so you can barely notice it!
  • The Hawley Retainer: These retainers have an acrylic palette piece that rests in your mouth with a metal wire that wraps around your teeth. For those needing a Hawley retainer, there are a lot of color options you can choose from to make it more personal to you.
  • The Bonded Retainer: This is a piece that doesn’t get removed from your mouth unless your dentist is changing it. The bonded retainer is a metal bar that gets secured with a dental glue to the back of your teeth to help hold them in place.
  • Night Guards: Not a directly-related retainer option, but a night guard is something that can help if you’re suffering from “bruxism”—a condition where you grind your teeth at night. If you’re experiencing a lot of morning jaw pain, ask one of our dentists about a night guard to help prevent teeth grinding.

We’ll make sure you get a retainer that meets your needs so you can stay smiling for a lifetime.

Retainer Adjustments

Getting your retainer adjusted is easy. It’s a common occurrence that happens to many people, so don’t worry if your retainer is no longer fitting right. Just be sure to come in and see us as soon as you notice the change to avoid any unwanted pain or discomfort, and to ensure that your teeth are behaving the way they should.

READ MORE: How Invisalign Compares to Traditional Braces >>

Retainer Timeline 

A retainer is something you’ll have to wear for life. Otherwise, your teeth will shift back to their original state. But the amount of time each day you have to wear your retainer may vary.

For the first few months to a year after your orthodontic treatment, you’ll have to wear your retainer around the clock (except when eating). Depending on your treatment, after one year you may only have to wear a retainer at night.

It’s important to wear your retainer as determined by your dentist to prevent your teeth from displacement. If you lose or break your retainer you should contact your dentist immediately to get a new one. For patients who went through an orthodontic treatment within the last year, more than a day without your retainer may mean some pain when putting it back in. 

Call Today! 

If you’re in need of Invisalign braces or a new retainer, feel free to schedule an appointment online or by phone at (248) 646-6363 so we can help provide you with the smile you want. As your Bloomfield Hills, MI dentist, Glenn Spencer DDS is here to help you smile confidently.

This blog post has been updated.