You are finished with your braces and are now in the retention phase of your treatment. Dr. Henry will let you know when you are ready to wear your removable retainer only during the evening, but advises you to continue with your retainer forever. If you stop wearing your retainer altogether, your teeth will eventually shift out of alignment. However with continuous wear, your teeth will remain nice and straight.
Retainers are designed to maintain your teeth in their corrected positions. Follow these instructions carefully:
- Don’t flip the retainer with your tongue. This could damage your teeth or loosen the retainer.
- The retainer’s plastic taste will disappear quickly, and your speech will return to normal after a few days of wearing the retainer.
- Clean your retainer by brushing with toothpaste. Do not soak in denture cleaners or mouthwash as this will weaken the solder joints (where the wires are joined) or damage the retainer. Plax or Retainer Brite (1-800-866-6884) are good for soaking. If you don’t clean regularly, a hard deposit will accumulate on the surface and irritate your gums.
- ALWAYS BRING YOUR RETAINER TO EACH APPOINTMENT!
- When it’s not in your mouth, keep the retainer in the special case given to you (not in your pocket or wrapped in a paper towel or napkin-someone will surely throw it away thinking it’s only trash). The plastic retainer case will protect your retainer from accidental damage or breakage under excessive pressure.
- Keep retainers away from pets-they love to chew on them.
Three kinds of retainers are used in our office. Each has indications and advantages over the other. Dr. Henry will choose the one that is right for you.
- Wire Retainers – should be worn 24 hours a day for the first three months (except during meals and brushing) unless Dr. Henry gives you further instructions. Later you will wear your retainer at night while you sleep.
- Clear Retainers – (pressure-formed) were formed with heat, so they should not be boiled or put in hot places (like your car in the summertime).
- Lower Fixed Retainers – are small wires attached to the back of the lower front teeth. They are designed to maintain your teeth in their corrected positions. This requires special attention!
Be Very, Very Sure To:
- Floss regularly using a floss threader
- Avoid biting into hard foods (carrots, apples, etc.) and objects, such as pens, to prevent breakage.
WARNING: Not wearing your retainer (for even a few days) could cause your teeth to shift. If your teeth shift significantly, your retainer will no longer fit properly and you will need a new one. Please call our office right away if you are having any problems with your retainer.
NOTE: There is a fee to replace a retainer that no longer fits, is lost, or is broken.