Orthodontic Retainers

You’ve Worked Hard for Your Beautiful Smile; Keep It That Way!

Finally, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful, straight, and best of all, metal-free! However, your orthodontic journey isn’t quite completed. To keep your smile looking its best, you’ll have to wear a retainer to preserve and stabilize your Top McKinney Orthodontics results. Retainers are needed to control or limit potential changes in tooth position. They are used after braces treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment while the surrounding gums, bone, and muscle adjust to the new positioning of your teeth.

Types of Retainers

Retainers are custom-made and can be removable or fixed.

  • Aligner-style retainers, or Essix retainers, look similar to clear aligners and offer a more aesthetic alternative to wire retainers. This clear retainer may fit over the entire arch of your teeth, or only from canine to canine (clip-on retainer). It is produced from a mold of your newly aligned teeth.
  • Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded behind the bottom and/or top teeth.
  • Traditional removable retainers typically include a metal wire that surrounds the front teeth and is attached to an acrylic arch that sits in the roof of the mouth. The metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the front teeth as needed.
  • Traditional removable retainer with a tongue crib, this type of retainer is exactly like the retainer above, however, it has a metal blocking device (like a potato masher) to help keep the tongue from thrusting between the teeth and flaring the front teeth. We usually recommend these for patients who have a tongue thrust habit, in order to decrease relapse.


Pros and Cons

  • Removable retainers can be taken out for eating and hygiene routines.
  • Removable retainers can get lost easily, so remember to keep yours in the case whenever you remove it to eat or brush.
  • A fixed retainer is great if you don’t want to keep track of it, or if you don’t want to worry about how many hours per day it must be worn.
  • Teeth with fixed retainers require a little extra attention to remove tartar while flossing. Patients with fixed retainers often must use floss threaders to pass dental floss through the small spaces between the retainer and the teeth.


Retainers are Forever

A common misconception is that teeth are like pieces of steel set in concrete—that although the rest of the body changes with age, the teeth will remain straight.

The reality is that this is not true! Everything in our bodies changes with age…skin texture, eyesight, hair thickness and color, as well as our bones, which hold our teeth. This is why it is necessary to continue wearing your retainer. This may sound like an unpleasant task, but think about it for a minute. If you could sleep on a magic pillow every night to keep your body from changing, would you be willing to do that? If you think of your retainer as “pajamas for your teeth,” then you can keep them straight just by wearing it at night.

Retainer Phase: During the next 18 months we will be seeing you approximately five times to check your retainers and evaluate your wisdom teeth. BRING YOUR RETAINERS TO EVERY APPOINTMENT. After these Top McKinney Orthodontics appointments you will officially be released from our office and there will be an office visit charge of $100 per visit.


Retainer Schedule

1st year out of braces: Wear every night**

**(Note: In some patients, teeth shifting can occur during the day, therefore, some day wear could be necessary for these patients too.)

2nd year out of braces: Wear every other night or three times a week. If retainers feel tight when placing them in then go back to wearing the retainers every night.

3rd year out of braces: Wear at least one to two nights a week for the rest of your life. If the retainer feels tight then wear additional nights as needed. A good plan is to pick one day of the week that you will always wear your retainer. We do not recommend wearing your retainer less than one night per week. DO NOT EVER THROW YOU RETAINER AWAY!!!

Bonded Retainer: If your lower teeth are retained with a fixed wire placed on the inside of the front teeth, this should be worn for three years or indefinitely, as long as proper professional Top McKinney Orthodontics cleanings are obtained every six months from the dentist. You should use floss threaders nightly to clean around it properly. If you are not able to keep the bonded retainer sufficiently cleaned and you are not getting it professionally cleaned regularly then we would not recommend a bonded retainer for you.

Retainer Care: Every time you brush your teeth, brush your retainers with cool water and toothpaste. The retainers are heat sensitive and will distort if introduced to warm or hot temperatures. Once a month soak your retainer in a glass of cool water with a denture cleaning tablet (Polident or Efferdent) or half a cup of water and half a cup of vinegar. This will help prevent plaque and mineral buildup as well as oral infection and will keep your retainer tasting better. DO NOT USE mouthwash, alcohol, peroxide, or hot water on your Top McKinney Orthodontics retainers…..this will distort or break down your retainers.

Lost Retainers: If you lose or break your retainers, the cost to replace each retainer is $275, so keep them away from your pets! But we have GOOD NEWS… because we know that retainers do get lost and pets do eat them; After all, Dr. Crise lost hers in the trash at McDonalds when she was 11 and her mom made her dig through the entire trash can to find it because her Top McKinney Orthodontics orthodontist didn’t offer a free retainer! We, however, offer every patient that we have treated for Braces or Invisalign at our office one free retainer.

We recommend wearing your retainers for as long as you want your beautiful teeth to stay straight. Remember that teeth tend to shift with age. Your Top McKinney Orthodontics retainer is used to help you prevent and control shifting. They say “Nothing is forever,” but we say, “Retainers are forever!” Keep Smiling!

Click here to schedule your FREE Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics evaluation or call (972)529-9700 to speak with someone on our dynamic team!



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