Orthodontic Retainers

The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you wear your orthodontic retainers. Keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:

Removable Retainers

Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, you will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction.  Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is imperative that the retainers are worn as instructed.  Failure to wear the retainers may result in undesirable movement of the teeth, which could necessitate re-treatment.

How Orthodontic Retainers are Worn

Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely. After two months, most patients can wear the orthodontic retainer just at night.

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 toothpaste 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 may 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 to prevent undesirable tooth movement.

Fixed Retainers (Bonded Wire)

This wire is meant to stay as long as you like to maintain tooth positions.  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.  Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month check-ups.

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 a musical instrument 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, to include thorough brushing and flossing techniques. His or her family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.