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Now that Dr. Amy Richter and your braces have managed to bring your teeth into their ideal alignment, the orthodontic hardware can be removed from your mouth. This will require a single appointment to detach the brackets and other elements of your braces. Yet this is not the end of the realignment process.

Each of your adjustment sessions applied a mild yet progressive amount of tension to the periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth in your mouth. Without your braces to hold the teeth in place, any residual tension to your teeth can cause them to gradually relapse out of position.

To prevent this from happening, Dr. Amy Richter can fit you for a removable Hawley retainer. This simple mouthpiece has a custom shaped piece of acrylic. It will be held in place by special wires that interlock with your upper teeth.

Providing daily care and cleaning for your Hawley retainer will help maintain it and maximize the retention effect. If something is bent, damaged or suffers excess wear and tear from lack of care, it can affect the duration of the retention phase.

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

It’s best keep your retainer in its case when you’re not using it. 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.

You can refresh your Hawley retainer by soaking it for a few minutes in an equal 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 had your teeth realigned by braces at Dr. Amy Richter’s Buffalo, New York clinic and you have questions about retainers, you can call 716-239-4815 to speak to a member of her staff.