Retainers are the final part of your orthodontic treatment, and just as important as the treatment itself! Teeth have the unfortunate tendency to “want” to move back toward their old, crooked positions. Your retainer holds the teeth in their final position to keep the same bite and smile the braces formed over the previous few years.
Retainers are removable and are made of either rigid acrylic with wires or a clear pliable plastic. We occasionally use retainers that are permanently attached to the back side of the lower front teeth (bonded retainer). We design some retainers to not only maintain the position of your teeth, but to also act as a nightguard to protect the teeth from wearing down if you grind your teeth during sleep.
- Generally, we ask our patients to merely wear their retainers at night, during sleep, but we will tell you how much to wear your retainers if it is otherwise. Until and unless we tell you to reduce your retainer wear time, it is very important that you wear them exactly as instructed. Really!
- Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use cool to warm water, not hot water. Don’t run them through the dishwasher! Brushing retainers removes plaque and eliminates odors. Soaking retainers in Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners is okay, but does not take the place of brushing.
- When retainers are not in your mouth, they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them! They won’t fit your dog, and if your dog tries them on, they won’t fit you, either!
- Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
- Remove retainers when swimming.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately. This happens to the best of our patients, so do not be ashamed to call us right away!
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
- Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
- Retainer replacement is expensive… with proper care they will last for years!
- Your face will continue to change throughout your life. Therefore we encourage every patient to continue wearing their retainers indefinitely to maintain their smile.