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Your Top-Rated Orthodontist in
Charleston, SC, For Braces & Invisalign

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Same-Day Starts, Braces, and Consultations Available!

Your Top-Rated Orthodontist in
Charleston, SC, For Braces & Invisalign

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It’s exciting to finally get your braces off and start enjoying your new smile. However, even after you’re done with braces, you are still responsible for the last aspect of your treatment, which is wearing and caring for your plastic retainer.

The prospect of wearing a retainer forever may seem ominous, but when your braces come off, you’ll be more than willing to put a little extra effort into making sure you get to keep the smile you earned. Plus, as you’ll read below, retainers are easy to integrate into your daily routine, so long as you follow a few basic tips.

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

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What is a Retainer?

Retainers are hard plastic appliances that cup around your teeth. They’re made from molds that your orthodontist takes after your treatment has concluded. Explaining what they do requires a little bit of the nitty-gritty on how braces work to start with.

When braces apply their gradual pressures on your teeth, the ligaments and bones that hold your teeth in place loosen and stretch. These tissues have to move for teeth to be readjusted to their new positions. At that point, new bone and tissue forms to make the healthier smile your new default. All of this happens invisibly during the process of wearing your braces.

However, this change is not permanent. The ligaments that define the original position of your teeth will very gradually encourage the teeth to return to their starting positions. Over time, this leads to what orthodontists call a “relapse,” where the teeth of someone who has already had braces gradually move out of alignment again.

To “retain” the final position of your teeth after wearing braces, orthodontists create and prescribe a plastic retainer, ensuring that your smile never relapses.

Fixed vs Removable Retainers

There are two types of retainers: fixed and removable. The fixed type is not made of clear plastic. Instead, your orthodontist glues a metal wire to the back of the teeth that were treated, which permanently prevents the teeth from moving.

Removable retainers are the ones that are sometimes made from clear plastic, also called an “Essix retainer.” Additionally, a Hawley retainer is another type of removable retainer and contains a wire that does the same job.

Plastic retainers are the most durable type. Similar to Invisalign appliances, they easily attach to the patient’s teeth and retain the user’s smile, provided they are worn as prescribed.

How Long Do I Have to Wear My Retainer?

Right after your braces come off, your orthodontist will prescribe your retainer to be worn for 22-24 hours. This means that you must wear it whenever you can, including when you sleep, removing it only to eat or play contact sports.

After a few months (usually around three), they will schedule a follow-up appointment and decide based on your progress if you should keep this schedule for now or change to 6-8 hours a day. This means that at that point, you can wear it only at night. This lasts for around two years.

If all goes well, your orthodontist may lower your requirements again to only a few hours per day. This final phase should be maintained for the rest of your life to ensure that your smile never relapses.

How to Clean a Plastic Retainer

To do their job, retainers need to be cleaned and maintained. This prevents them from tasting and smelling bad, as well as becoming misshapen.

Since retainers are constantly in the line of fire of spit, bacteria, and food particles, they need to be brushed like your teeth do. The best way to do it is to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a mild soap like dish detergent. Make sure to rinse it before putting it away to make sure it doesn’t stain your retainer.

We don’t recommend using toothpaste on plastic retainers because they can potentially scrape them. Remember that the case you keep your retainer in probably needs to be cleaned regularly as well.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.

Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.

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Easy Ways To Get Started

If you want to learn more about our orthodontic practice - where we offer extensive experience with a Board Certified Orthodontist, where we offer a satisfaction guarantee, and where we offer flexible payment options - Reese Orthodontics is here to serve you.

"Dr. Reese and staff share an inviting personality with a clean and professional atmosphere. I am very happy with the service, the product and the final result. I would encourage any of my friends and family to consult with Dr. Reese around their Orthodontic needs."
- Austin H.
"It has been a great experience all around getting braces at Dr. Reese Orthodontics. It's a great office with wonderful and friendly staff. I am extremely happy with the results. Can't say enough good things about Dr. Reese and his staff. I highly recommend him!"
- Nicole S.
"Dr. Reese and his staff was referred to me by a friend, and I highly recommend them! They were friendly, professional, helpful and quick to respond. I could not be happier with the results of Invisalign. I wore them about 7 months and my teeth are as straight as can be. Thank you for the great care and results!"
- Dancy E.
"I chose the absolute perfect orthodontist to perfect my smile. Dr. Reese has a personality that calms you and removes the anxiety that may come with the process. Dr. Reese is a true artist. I am so excited with my new smile. Dr. Reese accomplished the goals I was looking for and I am forever grateful. Thank you Dr. Reese!!!"
- Melanie C.
"Just awesome! Dr. Reese is the one to go to. He knows what he's doing and is great at what he does. Makes you feel like family every time you go visit. I can't get over how great my smile looks now. Definitely recommended."
- Harsha P.
*The reviews listed are from actual patients of Reese Orthodontics.
Individual results may vary. Reviews are not claimed to represent results for everyone.
click here to read reese orthodontic reviews
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reese orthodontics west ashley sc

Our Charleston
Orthodontic Office

2057 Charlie Hall Blvd. STE D
Charleston, SC 29414


Office Hours:

Monday - Thursday: 8:00AM - 5:00PM

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Dr. Reese McElveen, our award-winning orthodontist in Charleston, South Carolina has transformed the smiles of over 11,000 patients. Reese Orthodontics offers the most advanced orthodontic care for children and adults. Types of braces and orthodontic treatment include metal braces, clear braces, gold braces, Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, Damon Braces, SureSmile. Dr. Reese can even help you achieve your confident smile faster with AcceleDent.

Call 843.573.7279 today to schedule your appointment with our board certified orthodontist in Charleston, SC, at our conveniently located Charleston orthodontic office. Come experience Reese Orthodontics and you will see for yourself that we offer innovative and effective orthodontic care in Charleston, Downtown Charleston, West Ashley, James Island, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Johns Island, Goose Creek, Hanahan and Ladson, South Carolina (SC).