Why Wear Orthodontic Retainers
When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. This phase is the longest, the easiest but also the most important part of your treatment. Retainers will help to maintain your final orthodontic result. Remember, teeth move your whole life. So, while we cannot completely stop teeth from moving, minimizing movement with retainers is essential not only to a great result the day your braces come off, but for a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime.
The initial “regular” retention phase lasts for a minimum of 12 months, and retainers should be worn full-time during this period. After that, there is a period of extended retention during which time removable retainers are worn on a part-time basis. Cemented type retainers can remain in place. Long-term retention will lead to a fabulous long-term smile. So follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far.
For some patients, a different retention protocol may be recommended. Your orthodontist will advise you of any special or individualized instructions.
During the retention period, we will see you for appointments every few months. However, please notify us immediately and schedule an appointment to come in sooner should any retainer be lost or broken.
Please be aware that there is a fee for all retainer examination visits, X-rays and repairs beginning one year after the insertion of the retainer appliances.
Fixed Orthodontic Retainers (Bonded Wire)
In some cases, fixed or “cemented in” retainers will be recommended by the orthodontist. In the absence of caries or gum disease and with regular visits to your dentist, this type of retainer can remain in place long-term. Repairs, however, should be expected with this type of retainer as they may wear over time.
Removable Orthodontic Retainers
In most cases, one or more removable type retainers will be recommended by your orthodontist. This type of retainer should be worn as instructed by your orthodontist the first year of retention. In the second year, it can be cut down to every other night. In certain situations, our orthodontist may recommend a different protocol to best suit your needs. The removable retainers should be inserted at night before you go to bed.
Caring 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. DO NOT PLACE IT IN YOUR POCKET or wrap it in a napkin.
- Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them. Don’t leave them sitting on a counter, coach, bed, or end table.
- 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 or 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.
Dental Examinations and Cleanings
The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, to include thorough brushing and flossing techniques and should see their family dentist at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.
Please feel free to contact our office at any time should questions arise during the retention period.