Retainers - St. Louis Orthodontist

Orthodontic Retainers

After you’ve gone through the time and expense that orthodontic treatment requires, you certainly don’t want to ruin its wonderful outcome by not wearing your retainers. The purpose of retainers is to stabilize the work that braces have done, helping to ensure that your teeth will remain in their new positions. There are a couple of main types of retainers – removable or fixed – that drName at practiceName in St. Louis might use with patients.

Types of Retainers

There are several types of orthodontic retainers available to help maintain the alignment of your teeth after orthodontic treatment. The type of retainer recommended for you will depend on your specific orthodontic needs and the recommendations of your orthodontist. It’s important to follow the instructions provided and wear your retainer as prescribed to ensure the long-term stability of your orthodontic results.

Hawley Retainers: Hawley retainers consist of a plastic acrylic base that rests against the roof of the mouth or the tongue-side of the lower teeth. They also have a wire component that wraps around the front teeth, keeping them in place. These retainers are adjustable and can be customized with various colors and designs.

Clear Retainers: Clear retainers, also known as Essix retainers, are made of a transparent plastic material that fits snugly over your teeth. They are discreet and offer a more aesthetic option compared to other types of retainers. Clear retainers are removable and should be worn as instructed by your orthodontist.

Fixed Retainers: Fixed retainers, also called bonded or permanent retainers, are small wires that are bonded to the back of the teeth. These retainers are not removable and provide continuous support to prevent teeth from shifting. Fixed retainers are typically used for the lower front teeth, where the risk of relapse is higher.

Removable Retainers: Removable retainers, like the Essix retainer, can be taken out for eating, brushing, and flossing. They are made of a clear plastic material and should be worn as instructed by your orthodontist to maintain the alignment of your teeth.


How long do I need to wear my orthodontic retainer?

The duration of retainer wear varies depending on your specific orthodontic treatment and individual factors. In most cases, orthodontists recommend wearing retainers full-time for the first few months after braces or aligner treatment. After that, you may transition to wearing them only at night. However, it’s essential to follow your orthodontist’s instructions as they may recommend a longer duration of retainer wear to maintain the alignment of your teeth effectively.

How do I clean my orthodontic retainer?

To keep your retainer clean and free from bacteria buildup, it’s crucial to establish a regular cleaning routine. Removable retainers, such as Hawley or clear retainers, can be gently brushed with a soft toothbrush using mild soap or non-abrasive toothpaste. Avoid using hot water or harsh chemicals that could damage the retainer. Fixed retainers can be cleaned by using floss threaders or interdental brushes to reach underneath the wire and remove any plaque or debris.

Can I wear my old retainer if I haven't worn it for a while?

It is generally not recommended to wear an old retainer that you haven’t used for an extended period. Teeth may have shifted during the time you were not wearing the retainer, and the old retainer may no longer fit properly or provide the necessary support. It is best to consult with your orthodontist if you have not been wearing your retainer consistently to determine the best course of action, which may involve getting a new retainer or exploring other options to maintain your teeth alignment.

    What should I do if my retainer feels tight or uncomfortable?

    If your retainer feels tight or uncomfortable, it could indicate changes in your teeth alignment or that the retainer needs adjustment. Contact our office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. We will evaluate the fit of your retainer and make any necessary modifications to ensure it provides the proper support while maintaining your teeth alignment. Avoid attempting to adjust the retainer yourself, as this can lead to further complications or discomfort.

    Is there an orthodontist near me in St. Louis that offers orthodontic retainers?

    Yes.  At our St. Louis orthodontic office we offer orthodontic retainers to patients from St. Louis and the surrounding area.  Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.