As soon as the orthodontic treatment is complete, you will begiven retainers. To retain means to hold. Your retainer holds your teeth in their new place until the bone, gums, tongue and lips have adapted themselves to the new tooth positions.
The lenght of the time the teeth must be retained varies with each individual. Most orthodontists recommend that the retainers are worn at night for a long period of time or indefinitely. The average patient must be retained for a few years, some indefinitely. In most cases, some type of removable retainer worn only while sleeping is required during the latter part of retention, until the third molars or wisdom teeth have erupted or have been extracted. Teeth have amazing memories, as we get older everything undergoes change. Most shifting of teeth is within normal limits, and properly wearing your retainers will keep these changes to a minimum.
Orthodontic retainers can be fixed (a metal wire glued behind the teeth) or removable (made out of clear plastic or acrylic with stainless steel wires and clasps). Proper use of your retainers is essential to establish a stable tooth relationship and keep your smile looking beautiful. Retainers should always be worn as directed by your orthodontist. This may be every day at first, then a few nights week. If the retainers are not worn, the teeth may become misaligned once again. Then you could need braces again.
Take your retainers out when eating, swimming or during football or cheearleading practice, and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)Whenever your retainer is not in your mouth it should be clean, stored in its case. Pets love to chew on them! Keep them away from hot water, your pockets, the washing machine and paper towels. DO NOT WRAP THEM IN A NAPKIN, THEY MAY END UP BY MISTAKE IN THE GARBAGE! Make a habit to floss and brush your teeth first, then use your clean retainers over clean teeth, to avoid “cooking” the plaque under the plastic and develop cavities. BRUSH YOUR RETAINERS WITH TOOTHPASTE AND COLD WATER. CLEAN IT WITH DENTURE CLEANER (Efferdent) AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK, AND TAKE IT WITH YOU TO THE DENTIST REGULARLY WHEN YOU GET YOUR TEETH CLEANED, SO THAT THE HYGIENIST CAN USE SPECIAL CLEANING SOLUTIONS TO REMOVE THE DEBRIS THAT WILL ACCUMULATE AFTER A WHILE ON THEM. Retainers are made out of plastic, therefore do not sterilize them by boiling them, or leave them next to heat sources or on the dashboard in the summer, since they can melt and change their shape.
ALWAYS BRING YOUR RETAINERS FOR YOUR APPOINTMENTS, TO BE CHECKED AND SOMETIMES ADJUSTED. If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not attempt to adjust them yourself!
Should you retainers become lost or demaged, please notify us immediately so that we can replace it as soon as possible. Retainers replacement is expensive; with proper care, they will last for years!