The invisible retainers are made of a clear plastic material that has been heated and molded over your teeth on the molds taken after the braces have been removed. These can also be used for whitening trays.
Bonded “Permanent” Retainers
The bonded “permanent” retainer can be used on one or both arches. It is most generally bonded to the tongue side of the front teeth. This type of retainer is especially helpful in a case of severely crooked or crowded teeth, or to keep large gaps from opening back up.
“Traditional” Hawley Retainers
The “Traditional” Hawley retainer is made of rigid acrylic and wire. The acrylic rests on the roof of the mouth or under the tongue while the wire wraps around the teeth to hold them in proper alignment. Hawley retainers are best utilized in cases where teeth have been extracted and the space needs to be held closed, or when teeth are missing and the space must be kept open for future restorative work.
Contrary to popular belief, one is not necessarily better than the other. All retainers, when worn properly, are adequate at keeping the teeth straight. Once the braces have been removed and after reviewing your treatment plan Dr. Montano will decide which retainers will be best for you.
Caring for your retainers
With the exception of the bonded retainer, retainers should be kept in their case in a cool, dry place when not in your mouth. Never wrap them in Kleenex or a napkin, this is a sure way to lose them or throw them in the trash. Dogs and cats love to eat them too. Keep them away from direct sunlight or heat, as this will warp them. Always remove retainers to eat, drink, and brush your teeth before placing them back in your mouth.
Retainers should be removed with two hands, gently teasing on each side-starting in the back and then moving toward the front until they come out. Note: removing from one side with one hand can result in the retainers cracking. We recommend wearing your retainers while sleeping. Clear retainers are heat-sensitive; they should be brushed with cold water, toothbrush, and antibacterial liquid detergent (like Dial or Dawn). Never use toothpaste, hot water, mouthwashes, or peroxides to clean; denture-safe cleaners are OK. If a bonded retainer has been placed you must take special care to brush around it and use a floss threader to gain proper access in between the teeth.
Lost or Broken Retainers
If there is ever a question of how a retainer is fitting or if you suspect that it is lost or broken, call the office immediately. We will need to make an appointment to replace or repair the retainer(s). If possible, locate the retainer and bring it with you. If it is broken bring all of the pieces in, since it may be able to be repaired. In some cases adjustments can be made at the same appointment. Prompt action can prevent any shifting and help maintain a beautiful smile. A replacement or repair fee may apply.