Wearing retainers might seem like an inconvenience at first, but consistent use helps your teeth stay straight after orthodontic alignment with braces or Invisalign®. At Constant and Contro Orthodontics in Cupertino and Palo Alto, California, exceptional orthodontists fit your retainer and help you learn how to care for it. To book an orthodontic consultation or learn more about retainer care, call the nearest office or schedule online today.

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What are retainers?

Retainers are an essential part of aftercare after any orthodontic treatment, such as braces or Invisalign. These devices, which can be removable or fixed, ensure your teeth stay in place after treatment.

If you want your teeth to stay straight after orthodontic treatment, wearing a retainer according to your orthodontist’s instructions is essential. You might find retainers to be mildly inconvenient at first, but it’s easy to get used to wearing them regularly.

Which type of retainer will I get?

Retainers are available in several varieties, but they all serve the same purpose. Two of the three types require impressions beforehand to ensure they fit perfectly either over your teeth or against the roof of your mouth.

After you use braces or Invisalign to correct malocclusion, Constant and Contro Orthodontics might give you:

Hawley retainers

Hawley retainers are removable retainers that include a plastic or acrylic component shaped to the contours of the roof of your mouth. Metal wires attached to the Hawley retainer settle against the fronts of your teeth to secure them in place.

Clear plastic retainers

Clear plastic retainers are similar to Invisalign aligners but are designed to keep your teeth in place instead of shifting them continuously. These retainers are virtually invisible while you’re wearing them.

Bonded retainers

Bonded retainers are permanently cemented to the backs of your teeth so they are discreet. You need bonded retainers if your orthodontist decides you should wear a retainer all of the time.

For how long do I need to use my retainers?

The amount of time you must wear your retainers varies according to several factors. Some people only need to wear them temporarily while others must wear retainers (often bonded retainers) for the rest of their lives.

For at least 4-9 months, after you finish with braces or Invisalign, your orthodontist might tell you to wear your removable retainer at all times. You should, however, take your removable retainers out when you eat.

After those first few months, your orthodontist might tell you it’s okay to wear your removable retainer only at night as you sleep.

How should I care for my retainers?

To stop bacteria from building up on your retainer, clean the device every day. You can do so using a soft-bristled toothpaste, lukewarm water, and the same toothpaste you use to brush your teeth. Your orthodontist might suggest non-abrasive toothpaste to avoid tarnishing the retainer.

If you’re interested in orthodontic treatment or would like to learn more about retainer care, call Constant and Contro Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.