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Now that your teeth have been successfully adjusted into their ideal alignment, your braces can be removed from your teeth. However, there will still be some residual tension in the periodontal ligaments that hold each tooth in its socket. Using a retainer will help your teeth maintain their new position while this tension gradually diminishes.

A Hawley-style retainer is the most common type of retainer that Shelley A Tretter DMD MS INC’s orthodontists recommend. It is made from a thin piece of acrylic that is custom molded to match the roof of your mouth. It is removable, but held in place with wires that interlock with your teeth.

If you aren’t consistent about wearing your retainer during the recommended times, or damaged in some way, it will increase the amount of time you need to use it. In extreme cases, your teeth could actually relapse out of their new alignment!

While you can drink normally when you have the retainer in your mouth, you will need to remove it when you eat. When you’re not wearing the retainer, you should always keep your retainer in its proper case. It’s a good habit to keep the case on hand rather than improvising with a napkin or a plastic bag.

As you go about your day, you can refresh your retainer by soaking it in a mixture that is half antiseptic mouthwash and half cold water. If there is a little plaque buildup on any part of the retainer, you can lightly brush it with a soft bristled toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste.

If you have questions about how to clean and maintain your Hawley retainer you can always call Shelley A Tretter DMD MS INC’s clinic in Cincinnati, Ohio at 513-697-9999 to seek advice.