At the end of your treatment the braces will be removed and retainers are placed. There are different type of retainers. The most common type of retainer is a removable retainer which is made out of wires and acrylic. They are custom fabricated for the purpose of retaining and holding the new position of the teeth. Your teeth need to stabilize while the bone builds up around them. You can discuss different retainer options with your orthodontist. In cases where the retainers are removable, the degree of its success is entirely dependent upon the patient’s wear and care.
After the braces are removed, most patients must wear their retainers all the time ( 24 / 7 ) for the first twelve months to avoid any shifting of your teeth. Then, if everything seems to be stable, per your orthodontist evaluation, the wearing time will be reduced gradually to nighttime. Retainers are an essential part of treatment. If you neglect them, your teeth may shift too much and your retainers may have to be replaced or even re-treatment with braces might become necessary. More information on this website
Your retainer should be worn ALL the time except when eating, brushing, participating in contact sports, or swimming in a lake (or ocean) where they could not be retrieved. When your retainers are not in your mouth, they should be kept in the case in a safe place. Do not leave your retainers on top of a table where they can get knocked off or in a pocket where they may be easily cracked. Keep them away from dogs as they love to chew them if given the opportunity.
At the beginning, your retainers will feel bulky and your speech may be affected. Sometimes they will cause a slight lisp and too much saliva in your mouth. However, if they are worn regularly, the side effects will disappear gradually.
The day after you receive your retainers your teeth may be a bit sore. This won’t last long. The tissue on the roof of your mouth may become a little tender. You should get used to this in two to three days.
When you are eating away from home, be sure that you NEVER, NEVER wrap your retainers in a paper towel, napkin or tissue. This is the most common way of losing them. ALWAYS put them in the retainer case.
Your retainers should be cleaned after each meal and before going to bed. We realize that while in school you may not be able to clean them, but please do so as soon as possible after school. Retainers can be cleaned with your regular toothbrush and toothpaste. You may use a denture brush and denture toothpaste if you wish. Fill the sink with water to cushion the fall in case you drop them. Do NOT use hot water as it will cause distortion of your retainer. Clean retainer gently. Be careful not to bend the wires. Before placing the cleaned retainers in your mouth, be sure you thoroughly brush your teeth. If the retainer or teeth are not kept clean, an irritation or inflammation of the gums may result.
If you are not careful with your retainers, they may crack, break or the wires may become bent. If a small piece of plastic breaks off, this is usually not serious and you can smooth the retainer with a fingernail file. If a larger piece breaks off, it may be necessary to remake the retainer. If your retainer cracks or breaks in half, DO NOT attempt to fix it, as the glue you use might be poisonous or cause damage to your tissue.
If a wire or clasp of the retainer is bent so the retainer doesn’t fit or is too tight, don’t try to fix this yourself, you must call the office. Retainers are made to withstand normal use, but they crack or break if handled roughly. Some patients have a habit of clicking the retainers up and down with their tongues. Doing this will cause the loosening of the retainer. Other ways that retainers break include stepping on them, putting them in pockets, dropping them, etc.
If your retainers do break, be sure to bring in the pieces to your appointment. Please keep retainers away from anything hot like the stove, heater, dashboard of the car, etc. as heat will cause distortion.