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Through the course of your orthodontic treatment, your teeth have achieved their ideal alignment. Now the braces can be removed and you can show your new smile to the world!

At the same time, it’s important to know that there will still be a modest amount of residual tension in the periodontal ligaments that are anchoring your teeth in the sockets. If this tension is not addressed and mitigated in some way, your teeth will slip out of their new positions in a process known as relapse. To this end, you will need to use a retainer to help hold your teeth in position long enough for the residual tension to subside.

In general, most people need to use a retainer for about the same amount of time they needed braces. In order to keep this time to the bare minimum, you will need to properly maintain your retainer and consistently wear it during the prescribed times. If your retainer is damaged or if you fail to use it consistently, it will increase the amount of time you need to use it.

A Hawley-style retainer is the most common retainer that your orthodontist, Dr. Ronald Champion, recommends.

You should always keep your retainer in its case when you are not wearing it. Try to keep the case with you so you don’t have to improvise by keeping it in a napkin or a plastic bag.

To refresh your retainer, you can soak it in a mixture of one-half antiseptic mouthwash and one-half cold water. You should brush your retainer twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to remove any residual plaque.

If you have questions about how to clean and maintain your new retainer in Modesto, California, or if your retainer is damaged, you should call Champion Orthodontics at 209.575.5888 to schedule an appointment.