Your braces are just one step of the process of aligning your teeth. Over the course of your alignment sessions your teeth have migrated into their ideal alignment. However, the periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth still have some residual tension. If you don’t wear a retainer this residual tension will slowly pull your teeth out of alignment in a process known as relapse.
A Hawley retainer is the most common type of retainer. If yours is damaged, not cleaned properly, or you don’t wear it during the prescribed times, a modest amount of relapse can start to affect the alignment of your teeth.
You should always keep the retainer it in the case provided by the orthodontist, when you’re not wearing it. Try to develop a habit of keeping the case with you in a pocket or backpack, rather than improvise by keeping it in a napkin or a plastic bag.
When you take your retainer out you can refresh it soaking it in a mixture of half water and half antiseptic mouthwash. You will need to brush the retainer each day with a soft bristled toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste. Using nonabrasive toothpaste removes any plaque buildup without dulling or damaging the surface of the unit.
Make sure you maintain your daily hygiene routine, of brushing and flossing twice per day.
If your retainer is damaged, or one of the wires is bent or broken you should call us immediately at 214-824-2130 so we can schedule an appointment to address the problem.