Common types of retainers worn after Orthodontic Treatment and Braces

Let’s be honest…all orthodontic patients look forward to the day their braces come off or their orthodontic treatment is coming to an end! This means we are 100% complete with orthodontic treatment, right? Well, maybe…

After orthodontic treatment is complete, Dr. Horner or Dr. Barrow may recommend that you wear a retainer for a specific length of time. This retainer will hold your teeth in place while your jaw, gums, and ligaments get used to their new position.

We want to use this post to fill you in on the different types of retainers available, so that you can make an informed decision when the time comes for you and/or your child to have your braces come off and get fitted for your new retainer.

  • Bonded Retainers: These are retainers that are glued to the back (or lingual) of two or more teeth. They are considered permanent because patients can’t take them in and out on their own. These retainers have the advantage of not requiring any cooperation on the part of the patient beyond keeping them clean. Parents never have to ask their kids where these retainers are since these cannot be forgotten, misplaced, or outgrown. Bonded retainers provide the most control of any retainer type.
  • Clear (or Essix) Retainers: The clear (or Essix) retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of your teeth. Essix retainers have no metal or wires, very much like Invisalign® clear aligner trays. They can also be used to produce minor tooth movements and can be helpful in prevention of tooth wear due to tooth grinding (bruxism) at night.
  • Hawley Retainers: This is the most common type of retainer. Hawley retainers have a design that consists of wires and clasps embedded in a relatively thick plastic body that covers over the roof of the your mouth or lies along the tongue side of your lower teeth. The clasps grasp selected teeth so the retainer is anchored securely. The retaining “bow” wire arches across the front side of the your teeth and holds and maintains their alignment.

5 Tips for Cleaning Braces

Patients in our office here at Horner Barrow Orthodontics often ask about keeping their braces clean.  Concerns usually involve bad breath, discoloring of teeth, or food caught in their braces.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind while wearing braces.

  1. It’s just as important to clean the inside areas of your teeth as well as the chewing surface of each tooth. Brush all surfaces inside, outside, along the top of the teeth and the gum line for best results.
  2. The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth for approximately three minutes to do a good job… even if you aren’t wearing braces.
  3. Use dental floss often. Food is often trapped between teeth and flossing with braces is easier with a floss threader, especially when trying to thread the floss under your main wire. Dental floss threaders save time and are very easy to use once you get the hang of it. They are available in the toothbrush aisle in any grocery or drug store in the Sioux Falls area.
  4. Be prepared. In order to brush after every meal you must be prepared. Always keep a toothbrush in your purse, backpack, or laptop case. The TOOB brush was designed with orthodontic patients in mind. It’s easy to use, you can refill it with your own toothpaste, and it travels anywhere.
  5. Regular dental cleanings and checkups are still important. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. However, we recommend you visit your dentist regularly while wearing braces to eliminate any plaque you may have missed while brushing or using dental floss.

Orthodontic Treatment Can Improve Your Oral Health…and More!

The primary objective of orthodontic treatment by Horner Barrow Orthodontics is to give you or your child a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime. One of the first things people notice about others is their smile. Knowing you have a great smile will also provide better self-confidence! Orthodontic treatment will also improve your bite. A good bite not only makes it easier to eat and speak, but will enhance your dental health as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean will reduce the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

An Orthodontic evaluation with Dr. Horner or Dr. Barrow is easy to set up, and better yet…it’s FREE! Let your smile express yourself! Give us a call at our convenient Sioux Falls office to schedule your consultation today!