It’s not unusual for orthodontists to require patients to wear a retainer after wearing braces. Several patients will have to sport a removable retainer, one of the traditional, plastic retainers we’re all familiar with (and have most likely lost at one time), but many others will need a bonded (or fixed) retainer. As it sounds, a bonded retainer is permanently affixed to the back of your teeth, usually the lower front teeth. They are occasionally placed behind the upper front teeth, but it’s not as often as this can greatly affect the bite.
Bonded retainers are typically left in for months or years at a time, even for the rest of a patient’s life. Even though these little devices can work miracles in terms of holding your teeth in place, they can also be a magnet for dental hygiene problems if not cared for appropriately.
The following are some tips to help you properly clean around your bonded retainer so you can avoid excessive plaque build-up and gingivitis.
- Take some extra brushing time to really brush behind the bonded teeth. You should always brush behind your teeth as part of your normal brushing routine, but make sure to spend some extra time on those bonded teeth.
- Floss using floss threaders. Ask your dentist for little packets of floss threaders so that you can insert the floss through your bonded teeth, thereby allowing you to floss between your teeth and the retainer. Your dentist can show you how if you have any questions.
- Keep those biannual cleaning appointments. With fixed retainers, it’s doubly important that you don’t skip your dental cleanings. Your dental hygienist will make sure to spend plenty of time cleaning around the retainer and the space between the retainer and your teeth. This will also allow for an early diagnosis of decay or gingivitis if needed, which will then allow for early and less expensive treatment.
If you have any questions about how to care for your bonded retainer or if you’re out of floss threaders, please call our office! We definitely want to help you take the best care of your bonded teeth and prevent any health complications.