Wearing the retainer is a very important phase of total treatment. The teeth are very loose after the braces come off and they need time to "firm up" in the bone before they are stable.
Retention is for life. Teeth move as part of normal use and the retainer is the only "template" of your straight smile. If you lose or break your retainer, call our office immediately to have it repaired or replaced.
For the first 6 weeks:
- Wear your retainer all the time, 24/7. Take it out only to eat and brush your teeth.
From 6 weeks to 6 months:
- Wear your retainer at bed time only.
From 6 months onward:
- Wear your retainer each night or every other night.
- If the retainer feels tight, you are not ready to go to an every other night schedule. You will need to judge this yourself.
- Eventually, you may be able to wear it only 1 x per week after a year or two.
General Retainer Tips
- Take your retainers out when eating, and always store it in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
- Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but do not take the place of brushing.
- Do not place your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
- When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
- Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
- Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
- Retainer replacement is expensive; with proper care they will last for years!
- Remove retainers when swimming.
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.