To prevent teeth from returning to their position before braces were applied, orthodontists and dentists usually advise a patient to wear dental retainers. If the patient doesn't abide by this, the teeth could shift, defeating the purpose of not only the dental retainer itself, but the braces.
Whether it's a Hawley retainer, in which an acrylic plate is formed to fit the shape of the palate; the Essix retainer, in which a clear plastic tray is form-fitted to the shape of the teeth and held together by suction; or the bonded retainer, which is held in place near the tongue, you need to instruct your patients to use and care for their dental retainer properly.
When looking for the correct teeth retainers for your patients, consider the following:
1. Purchase materials to form a mold of a patient's mouth.
2. Locate creative dental retainer manufacturers.
3. Equip your office with dental retainer cleaners and cases to pass along to your patients.
Buy materials to create a dental teeth retainerWhen your patient has completed wearing braces and is ready to buy dental retainers, you need to make a mold of the patient's mouth. Although you made a mold before you applied the braces, the teeth have realigned, thus requiring you to form a new mold. Make sure you have alginate, a soft material that hardens on the teeth, and a horseshoe-shaped tray that you place over the patient's teeth. This results in an imprint of the teeth. Your lab technician should then pour plaster into the impression of the patient's mouth to produce the plaster models of teeth.
Find creative dental retainer companiesJust because your patient must wear a retainer, it doesn't mean he can't have a little fun with it. Certain companies specialize in unique retainer designs. Colors, designs and even sayings can be printed on his retainer to make it more enjoyable for him to wear. Suggest your patient buy custom dental retainers if hesitant to wear a regular retainer.
Stock up on dental retainer cases and cleanersPurchase specialized retainer cleaners to pass along to your patients. Advise your patient to use the same toothbrush and toothpaste used on his teeth to brush his dental retainers. He also needs to purchase additional cleaners to eliminate plaque buildup, but you can first give him samples from your shelves. Remember that tablets made for retainers differ from those for dentures as they're patented to work with plastic linings that some retainers have and prevent yellow stains. Give away dental retainer cases for your patient to use when the retainer isn't being worn or is being cleaned.
- If dental retainers aren't bent or broken, they may last for five to 10 years. But, retainers do wear out and should be checked periodically. This is necessary to keep teeth properly aligned.