Smiling Girl Wearing Removable Vivera Retainer for Teeth

Retainers: Types, Purpose, How They Work, Costs, Cleaning & Removal

After undergoing orthodontics in Ottawa you’ll need to wear a retainer. What are retainers? They’re a removable or fixed appliance that prevent your teeth from drifting back into their previous position after your braces are taken off.

What Retainers Are For

Retainers help prevent your teeth from relapsing (shifting back).  Teeth regularly need to be reminded of their new position. Movement can happen before you even realize it, so retainers are crucial to the success of your orthodontic treatment.

Next, let’s get into the different types of retainers…

Different Types of Retainers

Some retainers are fixed while others are removable. If you underwent Invisalign in Ottawa, the chances are you’ll have a retainer that you can take in and out.  This appliance will look very similar to the Invisalign aligners themselves.  They’re clear and rigid. Vivera Retainers are our device of choice.

Another popular type of retainer is a lingual wire.  This is a thin piece of metal that is bonded to the back side of your front teeth (usually the lower, but upper teeth can have them as well.) This is typically called a permanent retainer because it can only be removed by a dental professional.

How Retainers Work

Since a plastic retainer is made from rigid material, your teeth don’t have anywhere to go.  They’re not able to shift around, therefore they stay in alignment. A lingual wire works in the same way.  By being bonded to the teeth, the thin metal holds everything in place.

How Long Do You Have to Wear a Retainer?

The amount of time you have to wear a retainer may depend on your individual circumstances.  Generally speaking, most people will wear a clear retainer regularly for the first six months following orthodontic treatment.  After this period of time, only wearing the appliance while you sleep is sufficient. Lingual wires are always worn, since they’re permanently in place.

How Much Do Retainers Cost?

Retainers don’t cost much. In most cases, the cost of your clear retainer is included in your original orthodontic treatment.  If you need to replace one, be sure to ask Dr. Cohen during your initial consultation.

How to Clean Retainers

Cleaning a clear retainer is super easy, while lingual wires require a bit more attention.

Cleaning Vivera Retainers

To clean a Vivera retainer all you have to do is remove it from your mouth, rinse it under lukewarm water, then brush it with a soft bristle toothbrush. Once it’s clean, just rinse it again and you’re good to go.  

Occasionally you may notice some tartar building up on your clear retainer.  If this is the case, our Ottawa orthodontist will suggest letting it soak in a denture-like cleaning solution to loosen the debris. These tablets dissolve in water and are available over the counter in the toothpaste aisle.

Cleaning A Lingual Wire

First, it’s important to mention that though cleaning a lingual wire is a bit more time consuming, you should not neglect doing so.  In order to prevent decay or tartar from developing on your teeth, you’ll need to clean your retainer daily.

Begin by brushing your teeth and ensuring that you angle the toothbrush in such a way that you’re cleaning the entire wire.  

In order to floss a lingual wire retainer you’ll require some special tools. Particularly a floss threader. Plastic threaders work much like a needle and thread. The threader – which would be the needle – is the part that goes between your teeth just above the gums.  The threader pulls the floss through to the other side of the tooth, where you can remove the threader.

Now you have a string under your wire and above your gum. You’ll need to maneuver the floss around to clean the side of the teeth and the wire itself. If you can, clean under the gum with the floss too.  You’ll have to use this method for every tooth that the lingual wire is bonded onto.

There are other devices that are available over the counter, called water flossers, which make your flossing routine even simpler.  A water flosser works much like a pressure washer. The wand has a thin tip that when aimed and released between two teeth shoots out a burst of high pressure water.  

This tool essentially cleans all the debris from between your teeth. Water flossers are a bit of an investment, but they’re a life saver when it comes to the convenience of your oral healthcare routine.

How to Remove Retainers

Removing your retainer is simple (but obviously if you have a lingual wire you won’t need to worry about taking it out.)

If you have a Vivera retainer, you’ll remove it the same way you did your Invisalign aligners. Simply release the Vivera retainer one side at a time.  Use your pointer finger and thumb to grab the tray in the very back of your mouth and pull to free the retainer. Then do the same for the other side. Once both sides are released, you can hold the front of the Vivera retainer and slide it out of your mouth.

Which Type of Retainer is Best for You?

Our Ottawa orthodontist can help you decide which type of retainer is best for your situation.  If you’re going to have trouble with the right oral hygiene routine, then it might be best that you have a Vivera retainer that can come in and out

On the other hand, if you think you’ll have the tendency to forget to wear your removable retainer, then a fixed lingual wire might be the way to go.

Orthodontic Retainers in Ottawa are Available at Braces Haven

When the time comes and you need an orthodontic retainer, we have you covered.  We can also replace your lost or broken retainer if needed. Call today to schedule a consultation!