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Do I Really Need A Retainer?

Did you know that your teeth continue to shift positions throughout your life? This means that if you’ve undergone orthodontic realignment treatment, you need to ensure that those newly straightened teeth stay where you want them. How do you do that after the end of your treatment? With a dental retainer made especially for you by our team at South East Orthodontics!

The process of having your teeth straightened is long and uncomfortable at times. Years of braces or clear aligners may have finally adjusted your teeth into their ideal position, and the last thing you want is to undo all those years of wearing dental hardware. To ensure that your teeth remain in their new position, you need a dental retainer to help your teeth “retain” their position.

What Is A Dental Retainer?

Simply put, a dental retainer is a device that holds your teeth in position following orthodontic treatment. While not in itself a straightening device, it will keep your newly straightened teeth in position, ensuring that they don’t shift back to their pre-orthodontic skewness. There are several different kinds of dental retainers, and we’ll work with you to ensure the best solution for your needs.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers, as the name implies, are fixed to your teeth and thus are not removable. One method that we use at South East Orthodontics is fixing a wire to the inside of the lower front teeth. This provides a discreet anchoring method that holds your lower front teeth in position and prevents any shifting or overcrowding. The wire used is incredibly thin and shouldn’t cause you any discomfort. You may, however, struggle to floss due to the position of the wire. We suggest investing in some interdental brushes (the ones that look like tiny Christmas trees) so that you can clean in between your teeth while wearing your fixed retainer. You may also need to adjust your diet slightly and stay away from very hard or sticky foods, such as toffee, hard sweets, and popcorn.

Another thing to keep in mind with fixed retainers is their incompatibility with many over-the-counter sports mouthguards. If you’re an athlete, we suggest a custom-made mouthguard to keep both your teeth and your retainer safe.

Removable Retainers

While fixed retainers are designed to be worn permanently, removable retainers can be taken out for cleaning, eating, brushing, and flossing. These removable retainers can be made from clear plastic, giving you a discreet method of keeping your teeth straight. They can also be manufactured from a thin wire that connects to the teeth, holding them firmly in place.

Removal retainers offer great convenience, as they can be easily removed while eating or when they need cleaning. However, clear plastic retainers are susceptible to damage caused by biting down on them. If you notice that your removable retainer is losing shape or not holding your teeth securely, it may be best to consider switching to a fixed or permanent retainer.

Maintaining Your Removable Retainer

If you opt for a removable retainer, you need to be sure you’re taking care of it. We will provide a case for your retainer, and we highly recommend that you keep it safely in case whenever you’re not wearing it. Retainers are easily damaged, and because you cannot go without them for too long, keeping them safe is very important. Replacing your retainer can be costly and result in your teeth shifting out of position again if you delay too long.

You should clean your retainer daily and occasionally soak your plates in denture cleaner or white vinegar. Cleaning can be done with a standard toothbrush and cold water.

How Can We Help?

At South East Orthodontics, we provide treatment to straighten your smile and ensure that you keep those results beyond the conclusion of your orthodontic treatment. We will help you determine which method of straightening is best for your needs and provide a custom-fitted device to suit your smile. With frequent check-ups to ensure everything is progressing as it should, we’ll help you achieve the straight smile of your dreams.

Find out more about our treatments here.

To schedule an appointment or consultation, please call 03 9330 0702 or get in touch here.