How Do the Types of Retainers
Keep My Smile Beautiful?

After months of treatment with braces or clear aligners, you’re ready to get your appliances off your teeth and show off that gorgeous, new smile! We’re ready for you to show off your smile, as well, but we also know you aren’t quite finished with treatment. There’s one more step you need to take to keep that smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve. You need to wear your retainers!

Hentscher-Johnson Orthodontics includes retainers as part of your braces or clear aligners treatment. We want you to keep the smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve, which is why we put you in your new retainers right away. You need your retainers to keep those straight teeth in place. We know you’ll have several questions: How long will I have to wear retainers? Will I have food restrictions? How much will it cost to replace my retainers? Let’s explore what retainers are, the types of retainers, and why you need to wear them.

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Types of Retainers After Braces or Clear Aligners

Most people think of one type of retainer when they hear the word, but there are actually several types of retainers. There are three main types of retainers. Let’s look at the differences.

Hawley retainers

The Hawley retainer is the most familiar to people and one of the most common types of retainers. This tried-and-true type of retainer combines an acrylic piece with wires that fit around the front of your teeth and snap onto the back of your teeth. The retainer snaps onto your teeth and the acrylic piece is custom-molded to the roof of your mouth, so it fits snugly and stays put.

These retainers are popular because they’re removable, making them easier to clean and clean your teeth. The downside is that you can lose these retainers if they’re not stored properly when removed for eating or brushing your teeth

Clear Retainers

Clear retainers are a newer type of retainer that looks like a clear aligner, such as Invisalign or 3M Clarity. They’re sometimes called Essix or Vivera retainers. The clear retainers hold the teeth in place instead of moving them, but they look nearly invisible, just like the clear aligners.

As with the Hawley retainers, these retainers can be removed from your teeth for eating, drinking, flossing, and brushing. This means they can also be lost if not stored properly. The other issue with clear retainers is that you must be careful not to stain them. Because they are visible on the teeth, stains will show up. So you must either remove them when drinking or avoid drinks that can stain, such as coffee, tea, sodas, and fruit juices. You should always remove them when eating.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are also called lingual retainers because they fit on the back of your teeth where your tongue is. These retainers are attached to the teeth with a cement bond and cannot be removed. A wire stretches across the back of your teeth to hold them in place.

The advantage is that you never have to worry about losing these retainers or whether you’re wearing them for enough hours in the day. Since they stay in your mouth, there is little chance you will damage them.

The downside is that your teeth can be harder to brush and floss with permanent retainers. You must be extra diligent in removing plaque from around the retainers. You also may find it more difficult to floss your teeth with permanent retainers. Otherwise, tartar can build up, leading to gum disease and tooth decay.

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How Much Do My Retainers Cost?

Retainers are included as part of your treatment with Hentscher-Johnson Orthodontics, so you won’t pay extra when it comes time to be fitted for your retainers! However, you need to be sure you care for your retainers because replacements will cost extra.

On average, the cost to replace a retainer can range from $150-$600, depending on the type of retainer. This is why we encourage you to keep your retainers stored safely in a proper storage container when they are not in your mouth.

Caring for Your Retainers

To make your retainers last, you need to care for them properly. You will need to clean your retainers properly and regularly using retainer cleaning tablets. If you have clear retainers, do not use toothpaste because the abrasives in it can scratch the retainers and make them look cloudy. Otherwise, you can use toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your retainers if you don’t have cleaning tablets.

You also need to make sure you keep up with your checkups at Hentscher-Johnson Orthodontics. We will ensure your retainers are still fitting properly and not damaged. That way, we can make sure your retainers keep your teeth where they’re supposed to be.

If you spot any problems, contact us right away. We need to know if your retainers are damaged because damaged retainers may not hold the teeth in place properly. That means your teeth could shift out of place and disrupt your beautiful new smile. You don’t want that!

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Treatment With Braces, Clear Aligners, and Retainers

Hentscher-Johnson Orthodontics treats patients in the Columbia, IL, and Waterloo, IL, areas. We can answer your questions about your retainers or get you started with orthodontic treatment with braces or clear aligners. You can start online with a free virtual consult. We’ll get some vital information from you and set you up for an in-office visit and a no-obligation examination. We’ll be able to determine what type of orthodontic treatment will be best for you once we’ve seen what dental issues you’d like to fix.

Once your treatment is done, we’ll fit you for your included retainers. With the proper care, you’ll be able to keep those retainers for years. That means you’ll be able to slow off that gorgeous new smile throughout your lifetime!

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