Insights News - August 19, 2019 After your Invisalign teeth straightening treatment is finished it is still up to you to keep your teeth straight. Retainers are part of the process of maintaining your perfect smile. A retainer is a device you are required to wear following on from your Invisalign clear braces treatment. It is a necessity to wear a retainer to ensure your teeth do not move out of place after braces. Our experts at Clear Braces recommend you wear your retainers a minimum of 22 hours a day for the first six months after treatment and after that always wear them at night. There are two types of retainers to choose from with Clear Braces; a removable clear retainer or a fixed bonded retainer. Whatever option you sway towards it is just as essential in maintaining your new straight teeth as the teeth straightening process. Removable Retainers Removable retainers are clear devices custom made to fit into your mouth. They easily slide out of your mouth when you need to eat or brush your teeth. Removable retainers should primarily be taken out in these types of circumstances. In order to keep that perfect smile retainers need to be worn every night. Cleaning: Due to them being removable, these types of retainers are extremely easy to clean. You can simply remove them and brush them with lukewarm water after every meal and while the retainer is still wet as no plaque or debris will harden. Fixed Retainers Fixed retainers are usually made of a thin wire cemented across the back of the lower or upper front teeth. With fixed retainers you will not be able to remove them, much like traditional metal braces. Wearing them 24/7 ensures your teeth will not move out place. Clear Braces recommend that if you opt for fixed retainers you should wear removable retainers in addition for the first three months after Invisalign treatment. Cleaning: Fixed retainers require more attention in terms of cleaning than removable retainers. As the wire stretches across several teeth a floss threader must be used to clean the spaces between the teeth. If you don’t clean your retainer what happens? We all know that if we don’t brush our teeth regularly plaque and bacteria build up. The very same applies to retainers. Putting an unclean retainer into your mouth is literally placing plaque and bacteria over your teeth and gums, a very very bad idea. If you don’t clean your retainer it will become smelly and even taste funny. As well as being highly unhygienic, not cleaning your retainer is harmful if your immune system is weak. Studies have found that retainer wearers harbour more bacteria in their mouth than those who don’t wear retainers. According to researchers two types of bacteria which aren’t normally found in the mouth are present in retainer wearers, Candida, a form of yeast, and Staphylococcus. The bacteria were present not only on the retainer but on the wearer’s tongues and in their cheeks. Candida and Staphylococcus live in something called biofilm which is a thin layer of slime housing bacteria colonies. A biofilm is quite difficult to get rid of once established. Need More Advice? Oral hygiene is of the utmost importance and properly cleaning and wearing your retainer is the key to keeping your teeth straight. If you need more advice when it comes to best maintaining your retainers after your Invisalign treatment call us on 1800 33 43 53 if you are in the Republic of Ireland or 0044 8000 44 3226 if in Northern Ireland. With 22 dental clinics across Ireland we are sure to be only a stones throw away. You won’t find a more experienced group of dentists in Invisalign products than Clearbraces.ie.