Keeping Teeth Straight

When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. It is now accepted orthodontic practice to wear some type of retainer as long as you want to keep your teeth straight.

Your retainers should be worn at all times with the exception of eating and brushing your teeth. They must be firmly seated into place (upward pressure on the upper retainer, lower pressure on the lower one). As soon as feasible, we will go to nights only and continue this for about a year. Then after you are dismissed from our active care, we recommend you try your retainers once or twice a week and wear them at night if you feel any movement.

Although there is not any one retainer that is best for everyone, these are the types we use most often.

EssixEssix Retainer

The Essix retainer is a transparent, removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth. Similar to Invisalign trays, Essix retainers have no wires. They can be used for other treatments as well, including tooth movement and space maintenance. We typically use Essix retainers before a patient moves into a Hawley retainer.

HawleyHawley Retainer

The Hawley retainer, one of the most common types, is a removable retainer made of a combination of metal wires and sturdy acrylic, and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is specially made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth or around your lower teeth. The wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in perfect position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors and/or patterns.

Caring for your Removable Retainers:

  • Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste (sometimes with an antibacterial soap) using warm water.
  • Never place them in hot water or boil them.
  • When the retainers are not in your mouth, keep them in the special retainer case provided.
  • Never place it in your pocket or purse directly.
  • Never wrap the retainer in napkins or you may lose it in the trash. Also, pets love to chew on the plastic appliance so keep them out of their reach.
  • Remove retainers when participating in sports that require a mouthguard or while swimming.
  • Retainers are fragile and costly to replace; but with proper care will last for years!

BondedBonded Lower Lingual Retainer

Bonded lower lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower canines (eye teeth). This is one of the best ways to prevent your lower teeth from shifting as it is permanently attached! Patients with bonded lower lingual retainers must be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause teeth to shift quickly. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep them clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your lower teeth as well as the wire.

If your retainer breaks at any time during treatment, please do not adjust it yourself. Call us immediately to schedule an emergency appointment. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you've put in so far.

Engstrom & Hamilton Orthodontics

  • Raleigh Office - 7200 Falls of Neuse Rd., Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27615 Phone: 919.870.4443 Fax: 919.870.9434
  • Fuquay Varina Office - 421 Old Honeycutt Rd., Fuquay Varina, NC 27526 Phone: 919.870.4443 Fax: 919.552.9931

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