We recommend retainers to all our patients. After getting the smile you always wanted, it is time to keep that smile looking gorgeous! Teeth have great memory and want to go back to where they were. As you age, gradually your teeth will begin to naturally shift forward. This can have a noticeable effect on your smile. Wearing your retainers regularly will help prevent this from happening.
How long will I need to wear retainers?
There are many factors that may influence how long someone needs to wear their retainer, but the best blanket recommendation we can make is to wear your retainers for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight.
First month: full time
Next 6 months: after school/work + night time
Up to a year: night time only
After a year: every other night for the rest of your life. If you ever feel that your retainer feels tight, you should resume wearing it every night until the retainer slightly loosens into a more comfortable position.
What are the retainers I can choose from?
1. Hawley retainer:
Removable retainer with wire going across the front teeth with plastic (acrylic) on the inside of the mouth.
2. Clear retainer:
Invisible clear plastic custom made to fit your teeth.
3. Fixed retainer:
Thin wire bonded to the back of the upper or lower front teeth. You will need floss threader to keep the spaces between the teeth flossed. We recommend still wearing a clear retainer on top of this retainer.
How do I care for my retainers?
Wear your retainer at all times, until the doctor instructs otherwise. Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to your retainer faster. Take your retainer out when eating, and always put it back in its case! When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.) Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care.
Cleaning the retainers:
Soak in denture cleaner or white vinegar 20-30 minutes a day
Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Use denture brush with dishwashing soap or liquid hand soap. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
No toothpaste: too harsh for your retainers
Keep your retainers away from pets. Pets love to chew on them! Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins. Remove your retainer when you go swimming. If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself. Lost or broken, call us immediately. They will need to be replaced, or the teeth will move back.