Congratulations! You’ve started your braces treatment and are on your way to having a beautiful, straighter smile. However, it’s vital to care for your teeth even after your braces come off. This is why your orthodontist will likely recommend a retainer to keep your teeth from shifting following your treatment. Here we’ll cover some frequently asked questions about retainers to help you understand their uses and benefits.

What are Retainers?

Your teeth are naturally moving, even after your braces come off. A retainer prevents your teeth from shifting out of alignment and becoming crooked again. After all the hard work you went through to straighten your teeth, you don’t want to start over! Retainers are custom-made to fit your mouth perfectly. Wearing your retainer is just as important as the treatment itself.

What are the Different Types of Retainers?

There are three basic kinds of retainers.

  • Hawley Retainers are made from flexible wire and plastic. These retainers are adjustable and last a long time with proper care. These are the most traditional retainers and are what most people think of when they envision retainers.
  • Essix Retainers are molded from clear plastic and closely resemble Invisalign aligners. Many people like this option as they aren’t as noticeable as Hawley retainers. However, they are susceptible to wear and tear due to teeth grinding and can also trap food and liquids against teeth.
  • Permanent Bonded Retainers always stay in your mouth. These retainers are glued to the back of your lower teeth. The benefit of this specific retainer is that they straighten your teeth well, but the downside is that they make it difficult to floss and may cause irritation.

What are the Benefits of Retainers?

Retainers keep your teeth straight. And there are many benefits to straighter teeth! Straighter teeth are easier to clean properly, which makes it less likely that bacteria will become trapped and cause cavities. Retainers also improve breathing and speaking by improving jaw positioning.

Do Retainers Hurt?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about retainers. It’s common for patients to experience some discomfort during the first few days of wearing their retainers. For some, this discomfort will last up to a week before it eventually subsides. If it is persistent, contact your orthodontist for adjustments. You will wear your retainer for a long time, so you must be comfortable.

How Do I Take Care of My Retainer?

Caring for your retainer is simple! You must clean it properly every day by brushing it with toothpaste and water. If you have a removable retainer, soak it in denture cleaner to prevent the growth of bacteria. Make sure your retainer is stored in a place with proper airflow to prevent bacteria. A key thing to remember is to avoid heat with retainers. If the retainer is exposed to high temperatures, then it may warp. If your retainer does not maintain its shape, your teeth could shift out of line. Finally, keep your retainer away from pets. You do not want it to become a chew toy!

What happens if your retainer breaks? Don’t try to fix it yourself! Contact our team to help your treatment get back on track.

How Long Should I Wear My Retainer?

This is another one of the most frequently asked questions about retainers! Immediately after your braces are removed, you’ll be required to wear your retainer 24/7, only removing it for eating, drinking, and brushing. As time passes, you can gradually switch to wearing your retainer at night. We recommend wearing your retainer nightly for the rest of your life to keep your teeth aligned.

How Can Exeter Smiles Help Me?

If you find yourself with more frequently asked questions about retainers, stop into Exeter Smiles to have them answered. With two locations in Pennsylvania, we’re never more than a quick drive away.

Exeter Smiles offers traditional braces for only $3,995. To schedule a consultation with one of our offices, visit: