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Keep Your Smile Straight and Healthy

When you complete your orthodontic treatment you’re going to need a retainer. Do you know why? Your Spring orthodontist and pediatric dentist will show how well retainers work at holding teeth in place while sustaining movement in your gums, ligaments, and facial bones. Retainers “retain” your newly positioned teeth and keep them from transitioning back into their original positioning. This is also known as a relapse.

Let’s learn more about retainers and how you can best care for this special smile-saving tool. 

Some of the most common questions our Spring orthodontic and pediatric dental staff are asked by patients usually have to do with what a retainer is, and the best ways they can care for it. Here’s one:

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 – For about two years after your braces come off you complete your orthodontic treatment, you’re going to need to wear a retainer. If you have a fixed retainer be sure to properly clean your teeth to remove any debris that could get trapped. 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 retainer. Consider using a Waterpik, floss threader, or special orthodontic dental floss to help you get your teeth clean.
  3. Keep Seeing Your Spring Dentist – Because there can be some difficulties associated with keeping your teeth and retainer debris-free, it’s a good idea to 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 talk to the team at Matthews & Dai Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in Spring, TX.

Call our Spring Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.