You’ve worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!
Finally, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful and straight! However, your orthodontic journey isn’t quite completed.
To keep your smile looking its best, you’ll have to wear a retainer to preserve and stabilize your results. Retainers are needed to control or limit potential changes in tooth position. They are used after braces treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment while the surrounding gums, bone, and muscles adjust to the new positioning of your teeth.
Types of Retainers
Retainers are custom-made and can be removable or fixed.
- Traditional removable retainers typically include a metal wire that surrounds the front teeth and is attached to an acrylic arch that sits in the roof of the mouth. The metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the front teeth as needed.
- Aligner-style retainers, or Essix retainers, look similar to clear aligners and offer a more aesthetic alternative to wire retainers. This clear retainer may fit over the entire arch of your teeth, or only from canine to canine (clip-on retainer). It is produced from a mold of your newly aligned teeth.
- Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded behind the bottom and/or top teeth. While the device is usually required no more than a year after wisdom teeth have been extracted, it is often kept in place for life.
Instructions for Retainer
(Write your name on your retainer case!)
- Wear your retainer at all times except for eating, brushing, and special occasions until you are instructed otherwise.
- At first your brain will think they are food and your mouth will water. This will go away shortly.
- Always put your retainer in your case when eating. (Most appliances are lost in a favorite fast-food restaurant and school lunch rooms). Be careful not to put them into your pockets.
- Clean the retainer 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.
- Keep them away from dogs or cats. They love to chew on them!
- Don't let them go through the washer or dryer, or stay in a hot car.
- Remove your retainer if you go swimming.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
- Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
- Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
- 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.