Our Patients in Retention
Standard Removable Retainers
Congratulations! You have just completed the active phase of your orthodontic treatment, and your braces have been removed. The next phase of your treatment is retention, and it is every bit as important as the active phase. Wearing retainers is simple, but requires your cooperation for success.
Wearing Your Retainers
Removable retainers are not worn for the entire day. We ask only that you wear your retainers for 4 hours during the day and at night, while you sleep (this is a total of 12 hours or half the day).
It is important that you wear the retainers for the right amount of time. Remember, we have just moved all of your teeth, and if you don't wear your retainers, the teeth will try to move back to where they started. Sometimes your orthodontist will change the number of hours that you wear your retainers at subsequent appointments. Under no circumstances should you ever change your hours on your own.
When You Shouldn't Wear Your Retainers
You should not wear your retainers during eating, playing sports, or swimming.
When the retainers are not in your mouth, you should keep them either in a glass of room temperature water or in your retainer case (keep a damp paper towel in the retainer case with the retainers). It is important to keep your retainers moist, because they shrink when they dry out, and then they will not fit properly.
Do not, under any circumstances, wad up your retainers in a paper napkin (you will throw them away), or stuff them in your pocket (you will break or seriously damage them).
Care of Your Retainers
Like your teeth retainers can become covered with plaque and calculus, and over time would not only look bad but smell and taste bad as well. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to brush your retainers with your toothbrush and toothpaste when you brush your teeth. You can also use a denture cleanser like Efferdent, which will help to keep the retainers clean. If you have a bonded lower retainer, you must be sure to brush thoroughly and floss under the retainer with floss threaders to avoid tartar buildup and cavity formation.
Things to Avoid
High alcohol-containing mouthwashes can actually harm the plastic material of the retainer, so you should avoid putting your retainer into these solutions.
Never, ever, ever put your retainer into hot or boiling water. (Yes, boiling water will sterilize anything, but your retainer is plastic and it will melt). The only water temperature you should ever use is cold, from a faucet.
Your retainer is costly, and involves time and effort to make. If you lose or break your retainer we will replace it for you, but you will be responsible to pay a replacement charge for each retainer that you need replaced.
Your teeth have been placed in their optimal positions by careful orthodontic treatment. However, your teeth may move during your lifetime (like every other part of the body, the teeth change and move as we get older).
You should consider your retainers as a continuation of your orthodontic treatment. It is very important that you wear your retainers as instructed. Proper retainer wear will help to hold the teeth in their new positions. If you do not wear your retainers, your teeth will move; the teeth will try to return to the positions they occupied before you started orthodontic treatment. If you stop wearing your retainers too early, the teeth will move rapidly.
When your teeth move, the retainers will not fit properly, and when you come to the office for retainer checks, the orthodontist will be able to tell without asking you whether or not you have been wearing your retainers. If you don't wear your retainers you are only fooling yourself; if your teeth move significantly because you haven't worn your retainers then you may need to be retreated at additional cost to you.
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