Removable RetainersReston, VA

Patients and families are often excited to say goodbye to their braces. But once the braces are removed, it is time for a retainer. Retainers help preserve the results of your orthodontic treatment. Removable retainers keep your teeth aligned long after your braces are gone.

Removable retainers are available at Precision Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry in Reston and the surrounding area. Our team offers a wide range of options for orthodontic care. We can help choose a retainer that fits your unique lifestyle. Call us at (703) 783-1489 to learn more.

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The Purpose of Retainers

Having braces removed can be an exciting rite-of-passage. But orthodontic care is not complete once the braces are gone. Without braces, teeth can quickly shift out of alignment. Retainers help keep teeth in the correct position. If patients skip their retainer, their teeth may become crooked. Poor retainer habits can undo years of orthodontic treatment.

The orthodontist can provide a custom-fitted retainer and detailed care plan. Once the braces are removed, the team explains how to use the retainer for optimal results. Most patients can expect to wear a retainer for at least 12 months. Some patients may need to wear a retainer part-time for the rest of their life.

Wearing a retainer is a vital part of the treatment process. But maintaining positive retainer habits can be difficult for some. Many patients do not like cleaning their retainer every day. Other patients might have developmental or dental conditions that make retainers uncomfortable. Our team can help select a retainer that works with the patient’s needs and preferences.

“Poor retainer habits can undo years of orthodontic treatment.”

Pros and Cons of Removable Retainers

Removable retainers are a fuss-free option. These appliances fit into the jaw along the back of the teeth. A wire wraps around the front to keep teeth in place. Patients can take their removable retainers out for eating and oral hygiene. Retainers can also be removed for photos, special events, and sports.

Many patients prefer the convenience of removable retainers. Since the appliance can be taken out, patients are able to brush and floss thoroughly. An improved ability to brush and floss means removable retainers can promote good dental hygiene.

However, patients must have a high level of discipline. If a patient skips wearing their retainer, their teeth are likely to shift. Younger children are not always ready for the responsibility of a removable retainer. Parents may have to check to make sure their child is wearing the retainer. The dental team offers guidance on this process.

“Patients can take their removable retainers out for eating and oral hygiene.”

Clear Aligners vs. Removable Retainers

Retainers are different from clear aligners. Aligners are orthodontic appliances that help shift teeth into the correct position. Retainers represent the next stage in treatment. A retainer preserves orthodontic results and keeps teeth from shifting back to their original position.

After braces or aligners are removed, the team may ask the patient to wear a retainer 24 hours a day. Later, the patient may shift to wearing a retainer only at night. At this point, a patient is no longer required to wear a retainer in public.

If the patient finds the retainer bothersome, the dental team can help. There are retainer options that are thin, clear, and discreet. The team can assist the patient in choosing an appliance that meets their needs.

“A retainer preserves orthodontic results and keeps teeth from shifting back to their original position.”

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Caring for Removable Retainers

Patients should clean their removable retainers daily. Regular cleaning helps prevent plaque and mineral deposits. Without regular cleanings, patients may develop bad breath or tooth decay.

Cleaning a removable retainer is a straightforward process. Patients can brush their retainers like their own teeth. Cleaning solutions are also available. These products help kill bacteria and dissolve buildup.

Never use household cleaning products like bleach on a retainer. Instead, opt for an over-the-counter product formulated for dental appliances. Polident®, FreshGuard®, or Retainer Brite® are suitable options. Do not soak the retainer in mouthwash or hot water. Heat can damage the appliance and warp the acrylic.

Patients should check their retainers daily for signs of damage. If they notice any cracks, chips, or bent wires, they should call the orthodontist right away. Wearing a broken appliance can damage teeth. The patient should let the dental provider know if a retainer no longer fits. The provider can repair the damage or order a new appliance.

“Wearing a broken appliance can damage teeth.”

Removable Retainers vs. Fixed Retainers

Most patients find it easy to care for removable retainers. But removable retainers have a drawback: patients can lose the appliance. Sometimes, patients also forget to wear retainers. This can result in teeth shifting.

Some patients prefer a fixed appliance over a removable retainer. With fixed retainers, the wire is glued to the back of the teeth. These appliances are harder to keep clean, but they cannot be taken out or lost.

Clear retainers offer an “in-between” option. These discreet appliances may help patients follow treatment recommendations more easily. They are clear and translucent and look similar to clear aligners. They may be a good option for older teens or adults.

“Sometimes, patients also forget to wear retainers. This can result in teeth shifting.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are removable retainers?

A. Retainers protect the results of your orthodontic treatment. After braces, patients can choose between two options: removable and fixed retainers. Removable retainers can be taken out, while fixed retainers are glued in place.

Removable retainers have several advantages. Many patients find them easier to keep clean. With removable retainers, patients can also enjoy their favorite foods. Sticky candies and hard foods are not off-limits. Patients take their retainers out before eating, then put them back in place after.

Q. Where can I get a removable retainer?

A. Our orthodontic team can provide custom-fitted appliances. We begin by taking impressions of your mouth. Next, we send the impressions to a dental laboratory. Once your retainer is ready, we make sure it fits correctly. We also explain how to care for your retainer at home. Proper care can extend the lifespan of your retainer.

Q. How long do I have to wear my removable retainer?

A. At first, patients wear their retainer for 22 hours per day. Patients gradually reduce the amount of time they spend using their retainer. However, most patients will continue to wear their retainer at night. Nighttime retainer use helps keep your teeth from shifting. The orthodontic team can explain how often to wear your appliance.

Q. What should I do if I lose or damage my orthodontic appliance?

A. If your retainer breaks, do not attempt to insert it. You might injure your teeth and gums. Call the office for further instructions. Our team can work to repair or replace your appliance. If you lose your retainer, contact our office right away. Skipping your retainer for a prolonged period may allow your teeth to shift. We can order a replacement right away.

Q. How can I keep my removable retainer clean?

A. Rinse your retainer in clean, cool water after each meal. Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day, too. After brushing, use a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your retainer.

You can also use over-the-counter products to freshen your retainer. Look for a product designed for retainers or dentures. They can help disinfect your retainer and break down mineral deposits. Never use household detergents like bleach on your retainer. These substances can damage the appliance.

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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Retainers are an important part of your orthodontic care plan. Removable retainers are a convenient option for many patients. With removable retainers, patients can enjoy special events and photo sessions.

If you are ready to select your retainer, 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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