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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mark Feinberg


If you have completed your treatment with braces, you have been instructed to wear a retainer. Some patients opt to have a fixed retainer rather than a removable retainer. An orthodontic retainer promotes sustained placement of the teeth and the jaw, and eliminates the need for extensive dental work in the future.

Fixed retainers can be great! You never have to worry about losing it. However, fixed retainers can also make it more difficult to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy. One of the most common problems that can arise is plaque and bacteria buildup around the fixed retainer that can lead to gum disease. Keeping your fixed retainer clean is easy. Below are some helpful tips to maintain your fixed retainer.

• Brush your teeth using proper technique twice a day and after eating foods that can stick to your teeth or retainers.

• Floss daily. You must take special care to floss around the retainer in order to prevent plaque buildup that leads to calculus. Use a floss threader, orthodontic floss or better yet, and ultrasonic flosser to clean under and around the retainer.

• Using a Proxabrush to clean under and around the retainer is very helpful.

• Do not postpone regular dental visits. When you visit your dentist for your regular cleanings, they can get to all those difficult areas on the back of your teeth and around your fixed retainer, areas you may often miss during regular brushing.

How Long Do You Wear Retainers? It is important to wear your retainers for many years after orthodontic braces are removed from your teeth. Your jaw continues to grow, sometimes into your early twenties. Over a lifetime, your bite changes and the alignment of your jaws can also change. Your teeth will always have a tendency to shift back into malocclusion without prolonged use of a retainer. Ideally, retainers will be worn for a lifetime.

Contact Us For more information about oral hygiene and orthodontic retainers, call us today at 203-892-6822.

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