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222 Main Street Dental in Milford.

Smile Insurance: How Retainers Protect Your Orthodontic Investment

May 05, 2024
Preserve Your Smile with Retainers at 222 Main Street Dental of Milford

In the realm of orthodontics, a timeless tool has consistently upheld smiles and secured the lasting impact of orthodontic treatments: the retainer. Frequently regarded as a post-brace essential, retainers play a crucial role in preserving the stunning alignment attained through orthodontic procedures.


A common inquiry from our patients often revolves around the necessity of retainers post-brace removal. Generally, the answer is affirmative. Retainers serve as a safeguard for your revitalized smile, effectively maintaining the alignment achieved by braces or aligners.

The Role of Retainers in Orthodontics

The importance of retainers cannot be overstated due to several key reasons. Firstly, they play a pivotal role in maintaining the alignment achieved through orthodontic treatment. Teeth naturally have a tendency to revert to their original positions if not held in place by retainers. Secondly, without consistent use of retainers, there's a risk of undoing the progress made in straightening teeth, potentially necessitating further treatment such as braces or aligners, which entails additional time and expenses. Thirdly, retainers safeguard the investment made in achieving a beautiful smile and optimal oral health through orthodontic treatment. Lastly, while initially, there may be slight adjustments in speech due to retainer wear, over time, the mouth adapts, leading to improved speech and the realization of the benefits of a flawlessly aligned smile.

Types of Retainers: A Closer Look

  • Hawley Retainer: Among the most common, this retainer is crafted from acrylic and metal wires. The acrylic portion fits snugly against either the roof or floor of the mouth, while the wires encase the teeth, securing their position.
  • Essix Retainer: Resembling Invisalign aligners, these retainers are made of clear plastic. It covers the entire dental arch and is less conspicuous compared to the Hawley retainer.
  • Fixed Retainer (Bonded Retainer): This wire retainer is bonded to the back of the teeth, typically the lower front teeth. Because it's hidden, it serves as a long-term solution to maintain alignment.
  • Clear Retainer: Similar to the Essix, this retainer is made of clear plastic, though it might be slightly thicker. It's also removable like the Essix but may offer increased durability.
  • Permanent Retainer: Another form of fixed retainer, often placed behind the lower front teeth, designed for extended use to prevent teeth from shifting.
  • Spring Retainer: This retainer incorporates a small spring that applies gentle pressure to the teeth, aiding in retaining their alignment.

Retainer Wear Guidelines

A frequently asked question is, "Do I have to wear my retainer indefinitely?" The duration of retainer wear differs for each individual. Typically, it's suggested to wear your retainer full-time for the first few months following braces or Invisalign treatment. After this initial phase, your orthodontist might recommend wearing it only during the night. It's crucial to diligently adhere to your orthodontist's guidance to maintain the corrected alignment of your teeth.

Caring for Your Retainer: Maintenance Tips

  • Clean Hands: Always wash your hands before handling your retainer to prevent transferring dirt or bacteria.
  • Rinse with Water: Before and after wearing your retainer, rinse it with water to remove any debris or saliva.
  • Brush Gently: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap to gently brush your retainer daily. This helps remove plaque and prevent odors.
  • Use Retainer Case: When your retainer is not in your mouth, store it in its case. This protects it from damage and loss, especially when not in use.
  • Avoid Hot Water: Hot water can warp or distort your retainer's shape. Stick to cool or lukewarm water for cleaning.
  • Avoid Sticky Foods: Chewing gum or eating sticky foods can damage your retainer. Remove it before consuming these items.
  • No Eating or Drinking: Except for water, remove your retainer before eating or drinking. Food particles and drinks can get trapped, leading to bacteria buildup.
  • Pet Safety: Keep your retainer out of reach of pets. The scent may attract them, and they could chew or damage it.
  • Avoid Wrapping: It's easy to mistake a retainer for trash when wrapped in tissues or napkins. Store it in its case instead.
  • Bring to Appointments: Take your retainer to dental appointments for inspection and adjustments if needed. Your orthodontist can ensure it fits properly.
  • Pre-Brush Teeth: If you have a removable retainer, brush your teeth before putting it back in your mouth. This helps maintain cleanliness.
  • Cleaning Methods: Avoid boiling or microwaving your retainer, as this can damage it. Stick to gentle cleaning with a toothbrush and mild soap.
  • Storage: Store your retainer in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Heat can distort it, and sunlight can weaken it over time.
  • Case Replacement: Regularly replace your retainer case, as bacteria can build up inside. This ensures a clean storage environment.
  • Notify Your Orthodontist: If you notice any cracks, wear, or changes in how your retainer fits, inform your orthodontist promptly. They can assess and address any issues before they worsen.

Common FAQs About Retainers

Q: Is it okay to eat with my retainer in?

A: It's recommended to remove your retainer before eating or drinking anything other than water. Chewing while wearing a retainer, especially removable types like Hawley or Essix retainers, can damage it. Sticky foods like gum and candies can also adhere to the retainer, making it difficult to clean. Taking out your retainer during meals prevents food particles from getting trapped against your teeth, which can lead to decay or unpleasant odors.


Q: How long does it take to adjust to wearing a retainer?

A: The time it takes to get used to wearing a retainer varies for each person. Initially, you may experience some discomfort or difficulty speaking, which is normal as your mouth adapts to the retainer. Typically, it takes a few days to a couple of weeks to become comfortable with wearing it. If you continue to feel significant discomfort or soreness after this period, it's best to contact your orthodontist for adjustments. Consistently wearing your retainer as directed is important for optimal results.


Q: Can I use an old retainer if my new one breaks?

A: It's not recommended to use an old or previously worn retainer if your new one breaks. Retainers can lose their effectiveness over time and may no longer fit properly. Using an ill-fitting retainer can result in teeth shifting back to their original positions. If your retainer breaks, it's best to contact our orthodontist for advice. They can assess the damage and either repair the retainer or provide a replacement. Continuing to wear a broken or damaged retainer can compromise the outcomes of your orthodontic treatment.

Visit 222 Main Street Dental of Milford for Your Orthodontic Needs!

If you're considering orthodontic treatment or have questions about retainers, 222 Main Street Dental of Milford is here to help. Our experienced team offers a range of orthodontic services, from braces to retainers, to ensure your smile stays healthy and beautiful.

Contact Us

Get in touch with 222 Main Street Dental, and let's brighten your day with a smile! Reach out to us now.
Milford, MA Dentist, 222 Main Street, Milford, MA 01757 (508) 473-3424
222 Main Street Dental of Milford
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222 Main Street Dental in Milford.

At 222 Main Street Dental in Milford, our experienced dentists are providing the best family dental care. We tailor our services to meet individual needs, incorporating cutting-edge and advanced techniques to ensure the best possible dental results for our patients.

222 Main Street Dental in Milford.
222 Main Street Dental in Milford.
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