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A retainer is almost always needed to ensure that teeth remain in their correct position after realignment by braces. This is designed to help hold your teeth in their new location while the lingering tension in your periodontal ligaments gradually abates.

The most common form of a retainer is known as a Hawley. This is a removable mouthpiece made from a special acrylic material. It also includes strong wires that will lock the retainer in your mouth.

Your retainer will need daily care and cleaning to ensure its maximum effect. If some part of it is bent, damaged, or the retainer suffers excess wear and tear, it could increase the amount of time they need to use a retainer.

You should take your Hawley retainer out when eating. This will prevent food particles from getting trapped under the retainer and keeps it safe from damage. If possible, you should always store it in the case provided.

You can refresh your Hawley retainer by soaking it for a few minutes in an equal mixture of water and antiseptic mouthwash. You can remove plaque buildup on the retainer by brushing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste.

If you had your teeth corrected by braces at Dr. Merissa Blais’s orthodontic clinic in Scarsdale, New York, and you have a question about how to best maintain your retainer, you can call 914.472.9595 to speak to a staff member at Blais Orthodontics.