Retainers in Atlanta, GA
Retainers are the grand finale after a period of time in braces. Once you see your dazzling new smile, you will want to keep it looking good forever. Retainers will help you do just that by keeping your newly aligned teeth in position. If you live in the Atlanta area and want more information about how retainers may benefit you, contact iClear Orthodontics, led by board-certified orthodontists Dr. Ruchir Patel and Dr. Kal Thakkar, at one of their convenient locations in Alpharetta, Roswell or Kennesaw.
What Is a Retainer?
A retainer is a custom-made orthodontic appliance made from an impression of your mouth to hold your teeth in their corrected position. Retainers prevent your teeth from shifting when your braces first come off and as you age. Right after your braces are removed, you may need to wear your retainers all day. After a short period, retainers are typically worn at night while you sleep.
Depending upon your needs, your retainers will be made of plastic or a combination of plastic and metal from a model of your teeth and mouth. iClear Orthodontics offers the following types of retainers:
Why Do I Need to Wear a Retainer?
The risk of relapse is extremely high in the first few months after your braces are removed. This is because your teeth need to settle into the surrounding soft tissues and jawbone. It can actually take up to a year or more for your teeth to stabilize after treatment with braces. Retainers hold your teeth and bite in place during this time.
Teeth also shift as people grow and age. As children and teenagers grow, their teeth naturally move. Retainers prevent the movement from happening and keep the teeth in their correct positions. Many adults continue to wear retainers as well to offset orthodontic changes that are common side effects of aging.
Some people who need minor orthodontic corrections may use retainers as a solution. In some cases, retainers can close a gap between your teeth or move a single tooth into position.
Retainers may also be worn by patients to relieve temporomandibular disorder, also known as TMJ. When a patient’s teeth do not properly align when the jaw is closed, patients grind their teeth in their sleep. Grinding can cause headaches or jaw pain. Retainers, however, prevent your mouth from closing completely so grinding is not possible.
Getting Fitted for and Wearing a Retainer
Having a retainer custom made is easy and painless. Impressions of your teeth and arches will be taken using a squishy material called alginate. Your retainers will be made from the impressions. If you get a Hawley retainer, you will have the option to customize it with colors and pictures. Clear retainers look like Invisalign® aligners and are typically made and picked up in less than a week.
Like any other orthodontic treatment, your retainer may feel strange at first. Within a day or two, the feeling will go away. You may also have to get used to talking clearly while wearing your retainers. Any speech issues related to retainers are typically resolved within a couple of weeks as your tongue gets used to having the appliance.
Caring for Your Retainer
You need to clean your retainer every day. After all, your retainer comes into contact with bacteria, food and plaque. Cleaning retainers is easy and quickly becomes part of your daily routine. Some types of retainers can be brushed with toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Others require denture cleaner that just requires a few minutes of soaking.
Leaving your retainer in or near heat is not a good idea. Retainers that are kept near a radiator or soaked in water that is too hot can warp.
For most people, the toughest part of caring for retainers is not losing them. Everyone seems to have heard stories about kids who leave their retainers on their lunch trays and spend hours digging through the trash. Here are some tips that can help you:
- Remember that the safest place for your retainers is your mouth. If you are not using your retainers, make sure to keep them in the case and not folded up in a tissue or a napkin that could be thrown away.
- Select a brightly colored case that won’t easily get lost in the shuffle.
- Put your retainer case in a larger bag, backpack or purse. It is easier to forget a small case than a big bag.
- Leave notes in the retainer case.
- Keep your retainer in the same place every day.
Retainers become a part of your routine faster than you would think. Retainers are expensive to replace, and taking good care of them is a small price to pay for a lifelong confident smile.
How Long Do I Need to Wear a Retainer After Braces?
Retainers are designed to keep your teeth in position so they will need to be worn until your gums and jawbone have stabilized around your teeth. Dr. Patel and Dr. Thakkar will provide more information about what this exactly means for you.
Keep in mind that even during the ages of 20 to 50, teeth continue to move, causing crowding and other issues. Regardless of whether you previously had braces or other treatment, your teeth still change over time. Wearing retainers help avoid the results of orthodontic changes that come with age. Some adults sleep with retainers for their entire lives to keep their teeth straight. Fixed retainers can be mounted for five years or more.
How Much Does a Retainer Cost Atlanta, GA?
If you get braces, one set of retainers is included in the cost of your overall plan. If you are just getting retainers, the cost will be determined based upon what type of retainer is used.
Dental insurance sometimes covers a portion or the full cost of retainers, so it is important to check your policy’s coverage. If you have Flexible Spending Account dollars available through your employer, your pre-tax dollars can be applied to the cost of retainers.
To give all patients access to quality orthodontic treatment, iClear Orthodontics offers many payment plans to help make orthodontic treatment more affordable for all families. iClear Orthodontics offers interest-free in-house financing which divides the total cost of treatment into reasonable monthly payments for the duration of your treatment.
Options also exist to extend payments beyond your treatment period. In addition to traditional credit cards, iClear Orthodontics accepts CareCredit® cards that extend financing up to 60 months with a reduced APR and fixed monthly payments. Customizable OrthoFi is available to design a flexible payment plan. With OrthoFi, you are able to select the down payment and ongoing monthly payment amounts.
If you live in the Greater Atlanta area and want more information about how retainers can keep your smile in the limelight, contact the leaders of iClear Orthodontics Dr. Ruchir Patel and Dr. Kal Thakkar, at one of their convenient locations in Alpharetta, Roswell, and Kennesaw.