The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you wear your orthodontic retainers. Keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:
Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient 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. Our goal is for you to wear your retainers at “Night time for a lifetime!”
A patient should plan to wear their retainers all the time right after finishing their treatment. After a short period of full time retainer wear, the patient can plan to wear the orthodontic retainer just at night. We encourage you to monitor how tightly the retainer fits after switching from full time wear. If you have switched to night time wear and your retainer feels tighter than usual, it is advised to wear your retainer a little bit more throughout the day (try 10-15 minutes in the morning!).
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 you happen to lose your retainers or they happen to break, contact our office immediately.
Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)
A fixed retainer is a permanent retainer placed on the back side of your front teeth. This wire should stay on forever. As we get closer to finishing your treatment, we will make retainer recommendations custom to your needs. If a fixed retainer is placed, 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 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, 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.