Retainers & Post-Orthodontic Care

As your providers of pediatric dentistry and orthodontics in Chapel Hill, NC, we at Clifton & Mauney, are more than glad to give you the utmost in care throughout the entire orthodontic process, from beginning to end. 

You may be overjoyed and ready to celebrate in anticipation of your orthodontic treatment ending when your braces finally come off, but we have to warn you that your orthodontic treatment isn’t quite over just yet. 

You’ll then move into the retention phase, a critical stage in the orthodontic process. Retention is the final stage of orthodontic treatment. During this phase, you’ll wear an orthodontic appliance known as a retainer. Let’s go over Hawley retainers, clear aligners, and fixed retainers. 


Our 2 Types of Retainers

Hawley Retainers 

This retainer is a thin, tongue-shaped piece of acrylic that’s molded to fit your mouth and uses a wire to hold your teeth in position. The Hawley retainer is simple, durable, easy-to-remove, and also capable of correcting minor tooth movements. If you like, you can even personalize it by choosing different colors and designs for the plastic arch.

Essix Retainers 

These are similar to a clear aligner or the Invisalign tray system. These retainers are custom-made of thin, transparent plastic that’s designed to precisely fit over your teeth. The main advantage of these retainers is that they’re practically invisible – there’s no wire to show and others won’t even be able to tell that you’re wearing a retainer.


Cleaning Your Retainer 

In order to keep your retainer fresh and germ-free, you’ll need to properly clean it. The process is simple and the same for both retainer types.

You should clean your Hawley or Essix retainer by brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste or by soaking with retainer brite tablets.  

Use Your Retainer Case 

Whenever you take your retainer out, make sure to put it in its case. You’d be surprised to know how many retainers end up accidentally discarded!


Why the Retention Phase Is Important

While the purpose of the orthodontic treatment was to shift your teeth into a more favorable position, the purpose of the retention phase is to maintain this new position of your teeth. Without the usage of a retainer, your teeth will likely shift back into their previous suboptimal positions. Thankfully, by using a retainer, you can keep your teeth from moving and maintain your new, beautiful smile. 

Typically, most people will adjust to wearing a retainer after a short period of time. You may find it a little harder to talk normally at first and you may also produce a bit more saliva than usual, but these effects will generally fade away after a day or so.


Contact Your Chapel Hill, NC Orthodontist Today!

If you’re looking for orthodontics or pediatric dentistry in Chapel Hill, NC, we encourage you to give us a call at (919) 933-1007. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We hope to hear from you soon!