So you have reached the end of your UpSmiles journey and now have a beautiful smile that you are proud to show off. You may think you finally can be rid of those aligners that you’ve had to wear the last several months, but not so fast. To keep your teeth from shifting back to where they were before treatment, you will need to wear retainers. This guide will explain the benefits of wearing a retainer, retainer care and some do’s and don’ts to be aware of with your new set of clear retainers.
Benefits Of Using Retainers
The easiest way to explain retainers is that they retain the position of your teeth. Once you have finished your UpSmiles treatment, you will receive a final set of plastic aligners, which are your retainers. These custom adult retainers are molded to your completed smile to help keep your teeth in place. Your teeth gradually move and shift throughout the day, so wearing a retainer at night helps to redirect your teeth back to that perfect straight position you worked so hard to achieve. You heard that right; you will typically only wear your retainers during the night while sleeping. And since you will only be wearing them at night, they will be very manageable and won’t interfere with your daily routine. Wearing retainers is easier when you understand the importance and reasoning behind it.
Types Of Retainers
There are several different styles of retainers available, and the difference between them is the material used to make them and their appearance. Below are the three most common retainers people wear.
The retainers you will be receiving after you have completed your UpSmiles treatment are usually referred to as Essix retainers. Essix retainers are clear retainers made from a safe plastic material similar to your UpSmiles aligners. A benefit to Essix retainers is that they are invisible, making them easy to wear even throughout the day if you would like. Another plus to an Essix retainer is that it is removable and easy to clean, making retainer care pretty simple. As part of your UpSmiles treatment, one set of clear retainers will be included.
Another type of retainer is called a Hawleys and is one of the oldest types of retainers still being used. The Hawley retainer is made with plastic and metal. The metal wire sits against the six upper and lower front teeth and loops in front of the canines. Due to the plastic and wire components, it is easy for them to become distorted by heat or damage from any impact.
Another reason why Hawley retainers aren’t as popular is that they are not invisible. Because they look similar to braces, people are less likely to wear them.
Lastly, another popular type of adult retainer is a bonded retainer or fixed retainer. The bonded retainer consists of a wire placed behind the upper and lower front teeth. The benefits to the fixed retainer are that it is not removable, so your teeth will stay straight 24/7. Also, you won’t have to remember to put your retainers in before bed since they are permanently fixed to your teeth.
Some issues to keep in mind with the bonded retainer, are that the glue pads can easily come off. Once that happens, your teeth can start shifting if you don’t get it replaced quickly.
Furthermore, the bonded retainer will not keep the back teeth straight since it is only glued to the front teeth.
Another big downside to the fixed retainer is that it is hard to clean and floss properly around the glue pads. If that area is not maintained correctly, your mouth can easily develop gums disease and bone loss. Since retainer care can be challenging, to avoid that altogether, wearing the Essix retainer is the best choice, and your hygienist will thank you too!
Tip: Remember, retainers don’t last forever. Essix retainers tend to last 1-3 years, depending on how they are cared for. If you start noticing cracks in your retainer, it is probably time for a new set. Another thing to watch for is if the chewing surface of the retainer starts getting holes in them. Holes would indicate that you are grinding your teeth. If that’s the case, you may want to look into a nightguard, which would act as a retainer but is made with a harder material to withstand teeth grinding.
The Do’s and Don’ts With Wearing Retainers
When it comes to your UpSmiles retainer, there are a couple do’s and don’t to keep in mind.
- Wear them as directed by your UpSmiles dental professional. When finishing treatment, they may want you to wear them all day long or just at night.
- Remove your retainer when eating.
- Rinse out the plastic retainer thoroughly every day and dry it before storing it in its case.
- Clean your retainers at least once a week. Wondering how to clean retainers? Either by soaking them in a retainer cleaning solution or a denture cleaner will help to kill bacteria. Also, you can brush them without using toothpaste.
- Keep your retainer in a case or in your mouth.
- Place the retainer in a tissue or napkin, This dries out the retainer, plus makes it very easy to throw away by accident.
- Leave the plastic retainer in your pocket without securing it inside its case.
- Sterilize the retainer with alcohol or boil it. The material can become destroyed.
- Skip nights- Even one or two nights without wearing your retainer can cause your teeth to shift slightly.
- Play with them, chew on them, or flip with your tongue. Doing so may ruin the retainer, cause it to fall on the ground, or injure your mouth.
- Put your clear retainer in the dishwasher.
- Leave your retainer where small children or pets could get it.
Your UpSmiles retainer is meant to help you keep all the progress you’ve made to improve your teeth alignment. By including a retainer as part of your treatment, we want to help you continue showing off that great smile. But to do that, we need your help! Once you have finished your treatment, a dental professional will recommend how often you should wear your retainer. By following those recommendations and consistently wearing your UpSmiles retainers, you should be able to maintain your bright smile for years to come.
If you have any questions about your UpSmiles retainers or, unfortunately, one of your current UpSmiles retainers broke or was misplaced, we are here to help! Contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with us online at our website www.upsmiles.com