Sometimes, orthodontic treatment doesn’t end with the removal of braces or the discontinuation of Invisalign. A retainer is often prescribed to preserve all the work that went into straightening your teeth.
The retainer helps your teeth stay set in their new positions after wearing braces. It’s especially important for kids and teens to wear their retainer—as the continues to body grow, your teeth do some shifting. The retainer helps to control this shifting, which occurs naturally.
After your braces are removed or your Invisalign therapy is complete, your orthodontist will fit you for a retainer and tell you how long to wear it and when. For example, you might have to wear it all day for 3 months but then only at night after that. Some kids may wear their retainer only at night right from the start, but they may have to wear it for more than a year. The retainer keeps the teeth in line and you won’t even notice it while you’re sleeping.
Teeth might move during the beginning of wearing a retainer and will usually stabilize later. If you want your teeth to stay in their perfect position, long term wear is recommended, at the very least, it is recommended that you wear your retainers every other night for as long as possible.
We recommend bi-annual visits for the next two years after your braces are removed. Make sure to bring your retainers with you when you come in for your appointment. These visits are complimentary; we want you to have the peace of mind that your teeth and your bite remain healthy after your braces come off.
Caring for Your Retainer
- All retainers allow for some settling and minor teeth movements. This is normal.
- Speech is affected during the beginning of wearing a retainer and usually improves over time.
- Teeth may relapse during the beginning of wearing a retainer. If you want your teeth to stay in their perfect position, we recommend wearing retainers every night for as long as possible.
- Replacement retainers will be needed as retainers wear with time. There is a charge for replacement.
- Lost retainers, not wearing retainers or carelessness with retainers will incur a fee for replacement or retreatment. Please take care of your retainer.
- Place retainer in your case when you are eating or brushing. Keep retainers away from pets.
- Do not leave your retainer in an extremely hot or cold area.
- If your retainer is broken, lost, or not fitting as it should, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment. It is your responsibility to come in. If you wait, you might need more treatments to correct misaligned teeth, which is very costly and time consuming.
Clear Transparent Plastic Retainers (removable)
- Remove from the sides, NOT the front.
- Clean with mild soap, not toothpaste or pure mouthwash.
- To clean, soak retainers in a mix of half water and half of Listerine for an hour.
- You can also use denture tables to soak and clean.
- Only use cold water (not warm or hot).
- Do not bend or squeeze your retainer, as it can crack and break. Wear your retainers 24/7 for the first week, but be sure to REMOVE them when eating, consuming sugary drinks, brushing, or playing sports.
- Wear the retainer first full week full time day and night except when brushing, eating, or drinking. After the first week, wear the retainer at nighttime only for 2 years. Wear the retainer every other night starting with the 3rd year and on.
- If the retainer is lost or broken, please set up an appointment to see us.
Plastic and Metal Wire Retainers (removable)
- Remove from the sides, NOT the front
- Clean with mild soap, not toothpaste or pure mouthwash
- To clean, soak retainers in a mix of half water and half Listerine for an hour
- You can use denture tablets to soak and clean
- Use only cold water (not warm or hot)
- Wear 24/7 for three to six months, but be sure to remove when eating, consuming sugary drinks, brushing, or playing sports
- Use your retainer at nighttime when you sleep. After 6 months of full-time wear, wear your retainer at least every other night for as long as possible.
Fixed Retainers (glued, wire)
- This is the best retainer option
- These are used for long term treatment
- They are semi-permanent
- They stay in place at all times and can be removed by us or a dentist
- They do not harm the teeth. The area around them has to be kept clean.
- We recommend using a Waterpik machine to clean this retainer rather than floss (as floss can get caught in the wire and can break the retainer).
- Use floss threaders if you’d prefer to use floss. Slide the floss out from the front. Do not pull floss up and out or you will pop and break the glue from the retainer.
- See your dentist every six to twelve months for cleanings and checkups.
- If you feel that any glue has come off, see us immediately