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The braces your orthodontist, Dr. Justin Warcup, installed in your mouth effectively repositioned your teeth to address alignment issues and give you a more appealing smile. Your routine adjustment sessions applied moderate, progressive tension to the periodontal ligaments that are anchoring each tooth in its socket. Now that your teeth have achieved their ideal alignment, he can remove the braces.

However, there will still be some lingering tension in the periodontal ligaments. To prevent your teeth from relapsing toward their old positions, Dr. Justin Warcup will fit you for one of three types of retainers.

The most common type of retainer is known as a Hawley. This is a thin, tongue-shaped piece of acrylic that is custom fit to the shape of your mouth. The retainer is removable. When it’s in your mouth, it is secured by a set of wires that lock onto specific teeth.

While the retainer is in your mouth, you can drink and speak normally. You will need to take it out when you are eating. This prevents food particles from getting trapped under the retainer and it keeps the appliance safe from being bent or damaged when eating hard foods.

When you’re not wearing the retainer, you should always keep your retainer in its case. It’s best to get in the habit of keeping the case quick at hand. Improvising with a napkin or plastic bag should only be a last resort.

The Hawley can be refreshed by soaking it for a few minutes in a 50/50 mixture of water and antiseptic mouthwash. If you have a little plaque on the retainer or the wires, you can lightly brush it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste.

If you have questions about how to clean and maintain your new Hawley retainer in Fort Worth, Texas, you can always call 817-732-9341 to speak to someone at North Texas Smiles.