The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you wear your retainers. We encourage wearing retainers for as long and as often as possible. We want your smile to stay beautiful and straight for years to come! To make sure that happens, you have important responsibilities as a patient post-treatment, which are outlined below.
We also offer retainers for purchase for new patients!
How Orthodontic Retainers are Worn
Retainer wear is an essential part of maintaining the results and preventing your teeth from shifting back to their original positions.
– Immediate Use: Your orthodontist will provide you with a retainer immediately after removing your braces or aligners. Start using it as instructed without delay to prevent any unwanted movement of your teeth.
– Full-Time Wear (Phase 1): Initially, you’ll need to wear your retainer full-time, except when eating or cleaning your teeth. This phase typically lasts for several months, and it is crucial for stabilizing your teeth in their new positions.
– Gradual Transition (Phase 2): After the initial phase, your orthodontist will advise a gradual transition to part-time wear. The duration and specifics of this phase may vary depending on your unique situation. Generally, it involves wearing the retainer for a significant portion of the day, such as during the evening and overnight.
– Nighttime Wear (Phase 3): Eventually, you’ll transition to wearing your retainer only at night while you sleep. Nighttime wear is often recommended for the long-term to maintain the achieved alignment of your teeth.
– Follow Orthodontist’s Guidance: Throughout the retainer wear process, closely follow your orthodontist’s instructions. Attend regular follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and ensure that your teeth remain stable.
– Avoid Extended Breaks: While it’s understandable that you might want a break from wearing your retainer occasionally, try to avoid extended periods without using it. Teeth can shift quickly, especially soon after completing orthodontic treatment.
Remember, the retainer wear protocol can vary based on your specific orthodontic case and your orthodontist’s recommendations. Following these guidelines will help ensure your teeth remain in their optimal positions and protect the investment you made in your orthodontic treatment.
How to Care for Orthodontic Retainers
- Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards, or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
- Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth.
- Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
- Clean before and after placement in the mouth. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.
Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed. If the retainers are lost or damaged due to neglect, there will be a charge for replacement. If the retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.
Fixed retainers (Bonded Lingual Wire)
This wire should stay on forever. The only exception is if your family dentist says you are not keeping it clean and it is beginning to cause gum or bone problems. If this should occur, please have the wire removed and replace it with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr. Rehil prescribes. The fixed wire will protect the teeth as the patient gets older and your facial muscles get tighter. Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month checkups.
Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention
- Mouth breathing
- Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
- Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture, or abnormal tongue posture
- Playing musical instruments with a reed
- Lip sucking
- Pen or pencil biting
- Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
- Severely rotated teeth
Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.
Dental examinations and cleanings
The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, including thorough brushing and flossing techniques. The family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.