Orthodontic Treatment in Dothan, AL

At McClimans Orthodontics, our mission is to help our patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles that last a lifetime. Dr. McClimans and our team of staff members are dedicated to making the orthodontic treatment process as convenient as possible for our patients, designing personalized treatments that fit into patient lifestyles and meet the unique needs of each patient. We're proud to offer a diverse range of treatments ranging from traditional metal braces to alternatives like Invisalign – but no matter what orthodontic treatment method you choose, you'll need to wear a retainer at the end of treatment.

Why Do I Have to Wear a Retainer?

The simple answer is that if you don't wear a retainer, your teeth will move back to their old positions! While your teeth will be in a new alignment once you finish orthodontic treatment, the underlying ligaments, bone, and tissue structure that support them won't have adjusted to that new positioning. Without retention treatment, the underlying structures will actually force teeth back to their old alignment, ruining your new smile.

Wearing a retainer solves this problem. By using a retainer to maintain the new alignment of the teeth, the periodontal ligament and surrounding tissues get time to adapt to the new positioning of your teeth, cementing your new smile. With proper retention treatment, your new smile will last you a lifetime!

Types of Retainers

Just as each patient needs a unique form of orthodontic treatment, different patients may need different types of retainers depending on their specific needs. There are three primary types of retainers, and we'll work with you to select the best one for your smile:

  • Hawley Retainer: The Hawley retainer is the most common and also among the most reliable. Made from a piece of molded acrylic with metal wires attached, the Hawley is an effective, durable removable retainer that works for almost all patients.
  • Essix Retainer: The Essix retainer is similar to an Invisalign aligner in appearance – it's a custom-made piece of plastic or resin that fits directly onto the dental arch. Just like Invisalign, the Essix retainer is completely removable and almost invisible when worn, making it a highly convenient option for patients.
  • Fixed Retainer: A fixed, or bonded retainer, is composed of little more than a metal wire, but that wire is attached to the teeth using dental cement. In most patients, the wire is placed to run along the backs of the lower front teeth and cemented to the canines. As their name implies, bonded retainers aren't removable like other options, making them a preferred choice for patients whose teeth have a high risk of regressing to old positions – but because the wire fits behind the teeth, it isn't visible from the outside.

Caring for Your Retainer

You'll need to care for your retainer the same way you do your teeth. Be sure to brush your retainer each time you take it out or put it back in, and periodically drop it into a glass of water along with a denture cleaning tablet for a deeper clean. If you have a bonded retainer, you'll need to use floss threaders to floss underneath the retainer and keep both the retainer and your teeth clean.

In addition to cleaning, be sure to wear your retainer exactly as instructed by your Dothan orthodontist. Failing to wear your retainer for enough time can cause your teeth to shift positions, harming your smile. When you take your retainer out, be sure to place it in the special carrying case we give you, as otherwise it's liable to get lost or broken. With proper care, you can keep your retainer clean, your teeth healthy, and protect your smile for a lifetime to come!

Contact Your Dothan & Enterprise, AL Orthodontist

Retention is a critical part of treatment for any patient, and if you still have questions about the retention process or are interested in pursuing a new smile for yourself, we'd be happy to help. Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page or request a consultation using our easy online form. We look forward to helping you achieve a beautiful new smile and maintain it for a lifetime!