At Henderson Orthodontics, we understand your readiness to be free of your braces so you can enjoy all of your favorite foods. Popcorn, anyone? However, when we first remove your braces, you’ll go through a period called the retention phase. During the orthodontic retention phase, your teeth will want to return to their original position. It may take a while for the new bone and soft tissues that formed while wearing braces to strengthen enough to hold their new positioning on their own. That’s where wearing a retainer comes in!

What are dental retainers for?

A retainer is vital to maintaining your smile and keeping your teeth in alignment after removing your braces. Retainers can be fixed or removable, depending on your unique needs. Different types of retainers can be made of acrylic, plastic, wires or a combination of materials, but they all work to achieve the same goal. A retainer maintains the new alignment of your pearly whites to ensure all of that waiting was worthwhile.

How long do you need to wear a mouth retainer?

Depending on your case, you may need to wear a retainer for an extended period of time. However, the longer you wear the retainer, the more likely your new smile will last!

Types of teeth retainers

At Henderson Orthodontics, there are three kinds of retainers we use to maintain your smile:

  • Hawley: The Hawley retainer combines an acrylic arch that fits snugly into your mouth’s soft palette with a metal wire that forms to the front of your teeth.
  • Essix: An Essix retainer is a clear, plastic retainer, like Invisalign®, that molds to the shape of your teeth.
  • Fixed: A fixed retainer is a bonded, metal retainer that is permanently fixed to the inside of your teeth.

If you’re not sure which retainer is best for you, don’t worry! We’ll make a custom recommendation suited to you or your loved one’s needs during your appointment.

How to care for your mouth retainer

Retainer maintenance is easier than you may think. Each night, rinse the retainer with warm water and fill a small cup with an alcohol-free mouthwash. Use a separate toothbrush to scrub all the retainer’s surfaces. Then rinse the mouthwash off the retainer with warm, running water. Be sure to avoid using toothpaste to clean your retainer as it has small, abrasive properties that can scratch the surface of your retainer and cause bacteria build-up.

Trust your smile with Henderson Orthodontics

You can trust your smile is in caring hands with our American Board of Orthodontics (ABO)-certified orthodontists and our friendly team of dedicated professionals. We take great care to provide an outstanding patient experience and quality, premier care for all of our patients.