Through the course of your adjustment sessions, your braces have effectively realigned your teeth for a winning smile and a more functional mouth. However, these adjustments were just the first step in achieving your ideal alignment. After your braces are removed, a retention phase is required to make sure your teeth will stay in their ideal alignment for many years to come.
Even now, while your teeth are in their new alignment, there will still be some residual tension in the periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth in your mouth. If you don’t use a retainer, this residual tension can slowly start to pull your teeth out of their ideal alignment.
A Hawley retainer is the most common type of retainer. This thin acrylic unit is designed to help your teeth effectively retain their idea alignment while the residual tension in your periodontal ligaments adjust to their new position. You must be diligent about wearing your retainer during the prescribed times and keeping it properly clean to keep the realignment. If your Hawley retainer is damaged, you might have to use a retainer for a longer period of time.
When you are not wearing your Hawley retainer, you should always keep it in the case provided. This is a much better option than trying to improvise with a napkin or a plastic bag. Each night you should lightly brush your retainer to remove any residual plaque and bacteria. To refresh your retainer, you can soak it in a mixture of one-half antiseptic mouthwash and one-half cold water.
If you have questions about how to clean and maintain your new Hawley retainer, or your retainer is damaged you should call McCord Orthodontics at 208.529.8333 to schedule an appointment.