Fixed RetainersReston, VA

Braces removal can be an exciting time for patients and their families. Many parents are thrilled to see their child's bright, straight smile. But once the braces are gone, it is time for a retainer. Retainers help keep teeth from shifting out of alignment. Fixed retainers help preserve your child's orthodontic results.

Permanent retainers and bonded retainers are available at Precision Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry in Reston and the surrounding area. Our team offers a wide range of options for retainers. We provide regular checkups and ongoing retainer maintenance. Call us at (703) 783-1489 to learn more.

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The Role of Retainers

After braces are removed, patients need a retainer. If a patient skips their retainer, their teeth gradually shift out of alignment. Careless retainer habits can undo years of orthodontic work. Consistent use of retainers preserves treatment results.

Most patients wear a retainer continually for at least 12 months after treatment. Afterward, patients will need to continue wearing their retainers at least part-time. Those who opt for a removable retainer can expect to wear it nightly for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, many patients struggle with retainer compliance. Some might grow impatient with continued orthodontic care. Others may have medical conditions that interfere with retainer use. But wearing a retainer is a vital part of orthodontic care. Our orthodontic team can help you review your options and choose a retainer that fits into your lifestyle.

“Consistent use of retainers preserves treatment results.”

Fixed Retainer Procedures

Fixed retainers are a length of wire bonded to the back of the teeth. The wire holds teeth in place and keeps them from shifting. Fixed retainers are usually placed on the back of the bottom teeth. They are not visible to others.

During this procedure, the dental provider glues a smooth metal wire to the teeth. Patients can feel the wire with their tongue, but it usually does not interfere with eating or speaking. The dental team will examine the fixed retainer regularly. They check the wire for breaks or weak spots, and they make sure the bonding has not separated from the tooth.

“Fixed retainers are a length of wire bonded to the back of the teeth.”

Pros and Cons of Fixed Retainers

A fixed retainer can help patients who struggle to comply with orthodontic treatment. This is especially a problem for children who forget to wear their removable retainers. Fixed retainers are similar to braces, as both appliances are attached to the teeth. They cannot be removed, forgotten, or lost. Fixed retainers might be the right choice for younger patients.

However, fixed retainers can break or separate from the tooth. If this occurs, a dental provider must fix the problem. Patients must take care to avoid hard or sticky foods, which can break the wire. Some families find these restrictions annoying or inconvenient.

Removable retainers may offer a more convenient option. Like clear aligners, removable retainers are not fixed in place. They can be taken out for photos and special events. Fixed retainers can be difficult to clean, and patients sometimes have trouble brushing and flossing around the wire. Removable retainers can be taken out for daily oral hygiene.

“Removable retainers can be taken out for daily oral hygiene.”

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Cleaning Removable Retainers

Patients can clean removable retainers using a toothbrush and toothpaste. Cleaning solutions can also disinfect the retainer and remove mineral deposits. Patients with a removable retainer should check it daily for chips or cracks. Any damage to the device should be reported to the dental provider.

Do not soak the retainer in mouthwash, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solutions. Instead, use an approved product like Polident, FreshGuard, or Retainer Brite. Heat can warp the retainer, so do not wash the appliance in hot water. Keep the retainer out of direct sunlight, too.

Patients should take out their removable retainers before playing sports, swimming, or eating. Playing sports while wearing the retainer can result in mouth injuries. Patients might also damage the appliance. Our dental team can provide more information about protecting the teeth while playing sports.

“Patients can clean removable retainers using a toothbrush and toothpaste.”

Removable Retainers vs. Fixed Retainers

Many patients find removable retainers easier to manage. They fit into a variety of lifestyles and athletic activities. With removable retainers, oral hygiene may be easier to manage. Patients can take out their appliances for daily brushing and flossing.

But a fixed appliance has some advantages. Fixed retainers may be more discreet. Since they attach to the back of the teeth, they are not visible from the front. For those who are concerned about aesthetics, clear plastic retainers are another option. These appliances offer the discretion of fixed retainers and the convenience of removable retainers.

“Many patients find removable retainers easier to manage.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are fixed retainers?

A. With fixed retainers, a wire is glued to the back of the teeth. These appliances help keep teeth from shifting after orthodontic treatment. Since fixed retainers cannot be removed, they ensure treatment compliance. They might be a good option for younger children.

Q. How are fixed retainers put in place?

A. During an office visit, the dental provider glues the appliance to the patient's teeth. The procedure time may vary depending on your unique dental concerns. Our team can explain how long the appointment will take.

Q. What are the pros and cons of fixed retainers?

A. Fixed retainers cannot be removed. As a result, it is impossible to lose them. Patients cannot skip wearing it at night, providing them with some peace of mind. However, fixed retainers can be difficult to keep clean. Patients can also expect some dietary restrictions. Our dental team can provide more information about fixed retainer pros and cons.

Q. How do I keep my removable retainer clean?

A. Patients should rinse their removable retainer in clean water after each meal or snack. We recommend that patients brush their retainer every time they brush their teeth. Several products can help deep-clean a retainer. Use over-the-counter products designed for oral appliances. Never use bleach or alcohol to clean your retainer. These substances can damage your appliance. Your orthodontist can recommend the right products. The team can also explain how to keep a fixed retainer clean.

Q. What are my options for removable retainers?

A. If you prefer not to use a fixed retainer, several different types of removable retainers are available. Patients can choose between various colors and styles. Clear plastic retainers are also an option. These retainers are discreet and nearly invisible. Our dental team can help you choose the retainer that is right for you.

Get the Care Your Family Deserves

By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with treatment options.

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Fixed retainers help prevent teeth from shifting. But fixed retainers are not right for everyone. Some patients may find removable retainers are a better fit. Our team can help you explore your options for retainers.

If you are looking for a new orthodontist, let Precision Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry in Reston help. Call us at 703-783-1489 to learn more about our services and policies.

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