Fixed retainers are orthodontic appliances that can be used after braces come off, and they are also used to align teeth that don't need a full set of braces. Because these retainers are cemented into the mouth, they do require some special care. Here are a few things you should know about caring for your teeth while you have a fixed retainer in place.
Follow Food Restrictions
The food restrictions for fixed retainers are typically similar to the restrictions you might have had while wearing braces. Avoiding foods that might damage the retainer wire is particularly important. Unlike braces, which may only require the replacement of a single damaged bracket, a damaged retainer can require almost total replacement of the device. Avoid hard candy, sticky foods, and anything that requires a hard bite from your front teeth. An example of a hard bite might include corn on the cob. Your orthodontist can provide you with a full list of foods that should be avoided while wearing a fixed retainer.
Use An Angled Toothbrush
Brushing your teeth with a fixed retainer can take some getting used to. You'll need to make sure you completely clean the surface of each tooth directly behind the retainer wire. An angled toothbrush, or a toothbrush with an angled tip, can make it easier to get into those tight spaces. You may also find that a dental water flosser can be a great help in getting those front surfaces clean. Dental water flossers, also known as dental irrigation systems, can be purchased at your local drug store. When brushing your teeth, avoid using fast or rigorous techniques that might damage the wire.
Stock Up On Floss
Food can get stuck between the retainer wire and your teeth easily, particularly near your molars. In addition to flossing between your teeth, use your dental floss in between the wire and each tooth. This can help dislodge food that might otherwise become stuck. It's a good idea to do this after every meal to avoid embarrassing moments and to keep your teeth clean at all times. Keep a travel-size pack of floss in your purse or pocket for this purpose.
You'll also want to make sure you keep with your orthodontist's recommended visit schedule. He or she can check for signs of damage, perform repairs, and make adjustments as the are needed. With proper care, your fixed retainer can yield a beautiful smile. Contact a clinic, like Eberting Orthodontics, for more help.
Up until a year ago, I did my best to keep my teeth and gums clean. But after securing a new job, I began to work late into the night and didn't have the time or energy to brush and floss before I retired to bed. My busy schedule and poor dental hygiene finally affected my teeth and gums. After experiencing severe pain in several of my teeth, I made an appointment with my dentist. My dentist examined my mouth and discovered three large cavities in my molars. After four long weeks, my dentist finally completed my dental work. I learned a very painful lesson during that time. No matter how busy you are, always brush and floss. I started this blog to inform other people about the importance of good dental care. I hope you find the time to read it. Thanks for visiting.