Mother and son.

Important Tips From Your Local Urbana & Frederick Orthodontist

Some of our favorite days are when we get the opportunity to remove our patients’ braces to reveal a healthy, beautiful, and straight smile free of any metal or wires. While this is definitely a day of celebration, your orthodontic journey is not fully complete. To ensure your smile stays in top form, you will need to follow retention practices to preserve and stabilize your teeth. Dr. Jon A. Moles may recommend you wear a retainer to control your tooth position while the surrounding bone, muscle, and gums fully adjust. 

Different Types Of Retainers

Types of orthodontic retainers.

Most retainers are custom-made from a mold of your new smile. They can be fully removable or a permanent fixture that holds your teeth in place for the rest of your life. Dr. Moles will perform an examination to determine which type of retention device is best for your teeth. He may suggest you wear one of the three types of retainers The Village Orthodontist offers our patients. These include: 

Hawley Retainer – This is the most common type of retainer. It is a thin piece of acrylic molded to fit your mouth and is fully removable. A wire stretches across your teeth to firmly hold them in position. This retainer is durable and can even be personalized with different colors and designs. 

Clear Plastic Retainer – A clear plastic retainer is a great option if you were interested in Invisalign®. They are custom designed to fit over your teeth and are fully removable. One of the best benefits of a clear retainer is that they are nearly invisible!

Fixed Bonded Retainer – Dr. Moles may also suggest a fixed, bonded retainer that sits behind the top or bottom front teeth to hold them in place permanently. 

A Period of Adjustment

After a short time, most people adjust quite well to wearing a retainer. Some may find that they produce more saliva than usual for a day or so after first wearing any type of retainer — a normal reaction to a foreign object in the mouth. You may also find it a little harder to talk normally at first, but that problem will soon disappear. Of course, removable retainers should always be taken out when you eat or brush your teeth — a big change from braces!

At first, you will probably be told to wear your removable retainer all day, every day. This period of 24/7 retainer use generally lasts from several months to a year. Later, we may say that it's OK to wear it only at night. Finally, you'll probably need to put it on just a few nights a week.

Maintaining — and Retaining — Your Retainer

How to Clean Removable Retainers

To stay fresh and germ-free, all retainers need proper cleaning. A Hawley-type retainer can be brushed gently with a regular toothbrush — but a brush may scratch the clear aligner types. Denture cleaners, in powder or tablet form, as well as special retainer cleaners, can be used to clean most removable retainers. Fixed retainers are cleaned by brushing and flossing; a floss threader or interproximal brush can also be a helpful cleaning tool when needed.

Finally, remember to always carry — and use — a retainer case. You'd be surprised how many retainers end up folded in a napkin and accidentally discarded! Also, don't expose your retainer to excess heat by washing it in very hot water or leaving it on a heater: That can cause the retainer to warp and make it unusable. With proper care and conscientious use, a retainer can help you transition from braces to a permanent, healthy smile.

Contact The Village Orthodontist Today!

To learn about additional retention practices, contact The Village Orthodontist today. Schedule an appointment or speak with a member of our team by calling (301) 874-4747. One of our helpful, friendly office staff members will be more than happy to assist you in any way they can, especially if you would like to request an appointment. We look forward to seeing your smile soon!