When you finish your dental brace treatment, you will be required to wear a retainer to maintain exceptional results. There are many aspects that you need to acknowledge to know whether you need the retainers, choose, and use them accordingly. At Northridge Dentist, we offer the best dental services when you want to start using retainers after using braces or Invisalign.

Why You Need to Wear Retainers

Retainers are worn after an orthodontic treatment such as alignment trays and braces. There are a lot of benefits that result from the use of retainers. You should learn about these benefits to ensure that you achieve them once you have considered using a retainer. Here are the benefits of wearing retainers.

Keeps Your Teeth Straight

Once your braces have been removed from your teeth, they should be well aligned. However, with the use of a retainer, you will be able to keep them that way for a long period. If you leave your teeth without restraining them with a retainer, you can get back to the initial appearance or fail to achieve a complete alignment. Therefore, it is crucial to utilize this device and avoid getting back to the orthodontist to start over the alignment process.

Helps in Breathing and Speech Impediments

It might sound ridiculous, but misaligned teeth can significantly affect your speech. However, with the use of a retainer, your tongue is adjusted to its position, which guarantees proper speech. This will build up confidence in the affected person and reduce the trouble of loud breathing and snoring in children.

Promotes Oral Hygiene

It is easier to brush and floss straight teeth compared to misaligned ones. Chewing can also be done correctly, enhancing your oral health. Finally, well-aligned teeth promote saliva production, which increases digestive enzymes and builds up cavity-causing bacteria.

Helps in the Prevention of Diabetes

If you cannot manage proper oral health due to misaligned teeth, there are chances of developing diabetes. If you have diabetes, your condition might worsen due to your improper oral health.

Prevents an Overbite

Retainers alone cannot help a person to do away with an overbite. However, with the use of a retainer, your teeth cannot drift to their original position, which reduces the chances of having an overbite.

Types of Retainers

There are different types of retainers that an orthodontist can recommend. There are two main types of retainers or Invisalign. This includes the fixed and removable retainers. Here is a detailed view of these two types of retainers.

Fixed Retainers

A fixed retainer has a mechanism that permanently fixes it to your mouth. It can be seen when you are smiling and can stay for years if properly cared for. The only type of permanent or fixed retainer used in the dental practice is the fixed lingual retainer. It consists of a wire that is bonded to the side of the teeth. Permanent retainers are used in rotated or crowded or when there is a lot of space between the teeth.

The main advantage of using a fixed retainer is that you do not have to take it out since it is cemented to your teeth. However, the fixed lingual retainer can be challenging to clean. Therefore, you will find the front teeth with a lot of calculus and plaque over time, leading to further dental issues. So, if you decide to use the permanent retainer, you should maintain strict cleaning procedures.

Another disadvantage of fixed retainers is their problematic usage, which needs a lot of orthodontic care compared to the removable ones. If your fixed lingual retainer breaks, you might need to get emergency services to avoid shifting of your teeth.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers are described as specific types of retainers that can be occasionally removed by their user. There are two major types of removable retainers. This includes the Hawley retainers and the Essix retainer or the clear retainers.

  1. Hawley Retainers

A Hawley retainer is the most used type of retainer in the orthodontics field. It is a piece of acrylic that can rest on the bottom or roof of your mouth, depending on the type of arch that you use. It also has an attached wire that goes around your teeth. It is less noticeable compared to metal braces, although it is usually visible.

This type of retainer can be adjusted when there is a minor correction. However, a lot of people are choosing clear retainers instead of the Hawley retainers.

  1. Essix Retainer

Essix retainers are also referred to as clear retainers. Essix is made out of BPA- free plastic, which is similar to Invisalign aligner. The company involved in the manufacture of Invisalign has a brand of their own referred to as Vivera retainers.

These types of retainers slip over the mouth and are comfortable enough since they are almost invisible.

Regardless of the type of removable retainer that you pick, some pros and cons come with them. When it comes to their advantages, they are thinner and are comfortable inside the mouth. Also, they are convenient, and multiple copies can be made. Finally, they are easily removed, which helps the user in eating and maintaining oral hygiene.

When it comes to their disadvantages, removable retainers need to be replaced at least every year. You may also need impressions and retainers if your dental work changes in shape and size. They are also easy to lose, damage, and cause excess saliva production. Finally, if they are not well taken care of, they can be a living habitat for bacteria.

Guide to Getting a Retainer

Once your braces have been removed, your orthodontist might recommend retainers to help align your teeth. The orthodontist will help you choose a specific type of retainer depending on your preference and the nature of your teeth. A dentist would recommend the use of retainers to ensure that there are settling and relapse as well as restoring your smile.

Naturally, your teeth move or settle in a position where there is significant contact between both or when you bite. Relapse, on the other hand, explains when your teeth and jawbone starts to move back, which leads to misalignment.

In that case, your orthodontist can recommend wearing your retainers every time for the first three months after the removal of your braces. If your teeth were slightly misaligned, you might be required to use your retainer probably after school or before going to bed.

For people with severe misalignment, it might take a year or more to be genuinely stabilized. Your orthodontist might require you to continue using the retainer for twelve months to maintain a newly strengthened position.

Regardless of how long you need to wear the retainers, it is vital to comply with the orthodontist's instructions.

Guide to Using a Retainer

If you are using a removable retainer, you need to know how to use it effectively. This is to ensure that the retainer maintains its intended use and achieves the expected results. Here is a detailed procedure on how to use a Hawley and Essix retainer.

When using a Hawley retainer, you should consider the following process:

Confirm Whether Your Retainer is a Hawley Retainer

If you are using both Hawley and Essix retainers, you can easily confuse between the two. A Hawley retainer is made out of plastic and some wires, and the plastic part is made to fit inside your mouth. The wires are required to fit around your front row teeth, commonly the front six. More wires attach the retainer at the back of the teeth to firmly hold in its place.

Properly Hold the Retainer

You need to confirm if the retainer is supposed to be used for your top or bottom row before you use it. The best way to check this is by checking if the center plastic arch should point upwards or downwards the teeth row that you will hold it in place. Ensure that the metallic strip points away from the mouth.

Set the Retainer Inside Your Mouth

Bring the retainer close to the right row, and do not hold it for long. This is a suitable step to ensure that you push it at once into your mouth.

Please note, avoid pushing the retainer too much since it can harm your gums if it is not well placed. Check the positioning in a mirror while your mouth is open.

Push the Retainer

You should push the retainer quickly after you have placed it inside your mouth. Ensure that the plastic arch attaches into the roof of your oral cavity, and the wire perfectly fits the front teeth. The wires at the back should fit around the back of your teeth. If it does not fit well, you should call your orthodontist to make necessary adjustments. This could either be the wires or plastic that would need some adjustment.

Anchor The Retainer

You should use your thumb to place the retainer into its place if it needs to be. Avoid biting the retainer when it is in place since you can easily damage it. Ensure that you hear a click sound to confirm that the retainer is in its place. In case it is not in place and is falling out, you probably have not attached it properly, meaning that you should seek help from a dentist to adjust the retainer.

If you are using an Essix retainer, you will have a different experience while putting it up. Here is a typical procedure that you can rely on.

Check if You an Essix Retainer

An Essix retainer can be described as a clear plastic mold, without an additional piece of wires. It is meant to cover the entire row of your teeth. This kind of retainer can also wrap or bend, making them fail to fit correctly. If the retainer does not fit, you may need to replace it.

Properly Hold the Retainer

You should know if your retainer is for the bottom or top teeth before you set it up. Ensure that the arch is pointing forward, and can be placed on the right teeth.

Set Up the Retainer in the Mouth

Check whether the retainer is near to the right row of your teeth and hold it on it. Do not hold the device for too long to avoid damaging it.

Push the Retainer Against Your Teeth

You should push the retainer against your teeth as fast as possible. The plastic part should snugly fit over the entire row of your teeth and must not make any movement. Ensure that it fits over your teeth, which includes the back to ensure that it is well-placed. If the retainer falls out or does not stay in its place, you might need to anchor it properly.

Please note, you should not eat with your retainer since you can easily break it.

What to Expect When Wearing a Retainer

If you were wearing braces, wearing retainers will not be a difficult task. A retainer is more comfortable when placed against your cheeks compared to the brackets of your braces. Therefore, you do not expect to experience any soreness since your teeth ought to have moved into position due to the bracing. However, like braces, it can take time to get used to the retainers.

The retainer usually sits where your tongue is so it can impact your speech. In that case, you need to slow down your speech and practice aloud for several days to work on your slurring words.

How to Maintain Your Retainers

As discussed above, you cannot guarantee your retainer's longevity if you do not employ relevant maintenance measures. There are a lot of considerations that you can make, and it is crucial to take note of them or end up replacing the retainer sooner than you expected. Below are a few aspects that you need to consider.

Clean the Retainer Regularly

You should treat your retainer as if it's your teeth. Carefully scrub it with your toothbrush and water after every use. Do not brush it with an abrasive toothpaste since it might cause some scratches that will make it difficult to clean and maintain it.

Use the Retainer Often

Make sure that you use the retainer often, depending on the recommendation provided by your orthodontist. This is the best way to keep it upright and achieve the best results. Remember, the retainer will only work if you use it.

Keep the Retainer Away from Heat

Since your retainer is made out of plastic, it can melt if placed in a hot environment. You would most likely leave it in a hot environment such as a hot car or windowsill without your knowledge, leading to its damage. You should also avoid putting it in hot water, thinking that this would be the best way to keep it clean.

Put the Retainer Away from Pets

As much as you love your furry friend, they can snack on your retainer if you leave it unprotected. Keep your retainer safe and away from pets at all times.

Do Not Put Napkins on Your Retainer

It seems easier to put your retainer in a napkin during your meals. This might prompt the waiter to throw it away in the trash accidentally. Therefore, it is recommendable to put it in a retainer storage box which is more safe and noticeable.

Soak the Retainer

To add extra cleaning to the retainer, you should try to soak it. You can buy a retainer cleaner, which comes in tablet form or make your cleaning solution by mixing sodium hypochlorite with ten parts of water. Let the retainer soak for about five to ten minutes, and it will be perfectly clean.

Replace the Retainer if it Needs to be Replaced

Even a well-made retainer can eventually wear out. If you notice that your retainer has started to deteriorate or to behave differently, contact your orthodontist. Replacing your retainer when needed would be a crucial step in maintaining your smile.

Put and Take Off Your Retainer Carefully

You should always ensure that there is no gap between your teeth and the retainer support. When you are removing it, avoid twisting your tongue or put it on one side. Otherwise, you will end up damaging your retainer. While removing the retainer, loosen it from all its attachments and ease it off.

Brush Your Teeth Before and After Wearing the Retainer

Before and after putting your retainer, make sure that you brush your teeth. Putting the support in dirty teeth will only make it much dirty, which is not suitable for your teeth.

Maintain Your Retainer on One Spot

This might sound obvious, but it is always important to place it on one spot. Always keep it in its storage box and away from the reach of your pet or children. This will help you keep track of the retainer anytime you need it. If you lose it, make sure that you replace it.

The Cost of Retainers

The cost of a retainer varies depending on the specific type that you want to use. Here is a typical explanation of the cost that will apply depending on the type of retainer that the orthodontist will recommend you.

Removable Hawley Retainer

Hawley retainers cost around $150 to $3,000 for a single piece or $300 to $600 for both sets. The fee usually includes the overall brace fee to avoid further charges for the initial set. Some orthodontists might consist of one or two replacement in a basic braces package. If the package is not included, the cost might include $70 to $250 for one retainer and $140 to $500 for two or more sets. Most insurances do not cover the cost of replacing retainers.

Essix Retainers

Essix retainers range between $100 to $250 for a single piece. A set would cost between $200 to $500 for a set. These types of retainers can easily wrap or break, hence replacing them would be frequent.

Vivera Retainers by Invisalign

Vivera retainers have a fee of $300 to $750 for a new set of retainers delivered three times a year. These types of retainers are suitable for people who used conventional braces to straighten their teeth and those who have been using Invisalign aligners.

Bonded Retainers

Bonded retainers are attached to the back of the teeth and cost between $250 to $500 for a single arch. For a dual arc, the price ranges between $500 to $1,000. These retainers are placed at the bottom teeth including a removable retainer on top.

Retainers Used to Correct an Overbite

When you use a retainer to deal with an overbite, you will need a couple of retainers and several office visits. This costs between $500 to $2,500, but in some cases, it can cost between $5,000. This depends on the complexity of the treatment.

Additional Cost

A plastic case usually comes with the retainer, leading to an extra $1 to $10 to avoid losing or discarding the retainer accidentally.

Insurance Cover and Dental Retainers

Dental insurance does not typically cover the fabrication and delivery of retainers as an individual treatment process. This includes those with orthodontist benefits. In most cases, placing retainers would be an out-of-pocket expense, although insurance policies usually vary, leading to some exceptions.

In some cases, patients undergoing orthodontic treatment and utilizing orthodontic insurance might use it to cover the cost of the first retainer apart from the entire treatment process. This would apply for patients with braces or aligners rather than those in need of individual retainers.

Find a Northridge Dentist Near Me

The success of using a retainer depends on the type of dentist that you choose. A reliable dentist should have a wide range of experience and should be available at all times. At Northridge Dentist, we are dedicated to meeting your needs in a caring and professional manner. We are ready for the opportunity to help you with your questions and address your concerns. Please call us at 818-875-0216 and schedule a visit with us.