A general dentist can treat all sorts of cavities, including the ones that occur between teeth. The medical term for this type of decay is an interproximal cavity. It is the result of the erosion of the protective outer layer of teeth called the enamel. It is the strongest part of the body, but it…
Retainers: Clear Aligner Teeth Straightening Aftercare
When it comes to teeth straightening, using a clear aligner is just as effective as using traditional braces. However, when your teeth have moved into the desired position and you do not need to use your aligner anymore, your dentist will recommend using a retainer to keep your teeth in place and prevent them from moving out of position.
Keeping your teeth straight after clear aligner treatment
Straightening your teeth moves your teeth to the desired position, but even after you have straightened them, they are not set in the new position for several months, which means they will gradually move back to their former position. If you want to prevent your teeth from shifting back to their old position, it is important that you wear a retainer as directed by your dentist.
Types of retainers
There are three main types of retainers, the Hawley retainer, the clear aligner and fixed retainers.
The most common type of retainer, it is a tongue-shaped acrylic molded to fit in your mouth and it has a wire that holds your teeth in place. Hawley retainers are very durable, easy to use and can be adjusted to correct minor movements of your teeth.
Clear aligner retainers
These look similar to the clear aligner you used to straighten your teeth. They are made from a thin transparent plastic that is customized to fit your teeth. They are not visible, so you can wear them in public without worrying about your appearance, and they are also easy to remove.
These retainers are mostly used on lower teeth, and as the name implies, they are not removable. They are similar to lingual braces because the wires are bonded to the back surface of your teeth and have to remain in place for several months. They are mainly used if there is a high risk of your teeth moving back to their former position.
Are retainers comfortable?
Retainers initially require some getting used to, but since you have been wearing braces for some time, the adjustment period is usually short. Clear aligner retainers are the most comfortable, followed by the Hawley retainer. The fixed retainers are not as comfortable because they require wires and cannot be removed by the wearer.
Taking care of your retainer
If you want to avoid introducing new germs into your mouth, taking proper care of your retainer is very important. You can clean the Hawley retainer by brushing it gently with a toothbrush. However, you should avoid using a toothbrush on the clear aligner retainer because the bristles of the brush can scratch and damage the clear plastic.
Denture cleaners work best on clear aligner retainers, while fixed retainers can be cleaned by brushing and flossing. Interdental brushes are very effective when it comes to cleaning fixed retainers. You should have a retainer case to store your retainer to avoid losing or damaging it.
The bottom line
Retainers are very important after using clear aligner braces because they help keep your teeth in the desired position until they can stay in place on their own. If you are about to finish straightening your teeth, talk to your dentist to obtain the right retainer to hold your teeth in place.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.
There are many reasons why a tooth extraction may be necessary. One of the most common reasons is when a tooth is too badly damaged or decayed to be repaired. It may need to be extracted to make way for an implant. Teeth may also need to be pulled if the mouth is too crowded.…
Invisalign® is the teeth-straightening solution that many patients reach for when searching for a discreet way to improve their smile. This method of bite correction uses customized trays in weekly and bi-weekly rounds to slightly adjust the location of the teeth until the desired position is achieved. These trays are meant to be worn in…
If your tooth is infected or damaged, the dentist may recommend saving it with a root canal. This means removing the pulp of the tooth to get rid of the infection. Many films or shows joke about how root canals are painful, but this an incorrect notion.If you have been scheduled for a root canal,…