The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you wear your orthodontic retainers. Keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:
Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is imperative that the retainers are worn as instructed. Failure to wear the retainers may result in undesirable movement of the teeth, which could necessitate re-treatment.
How Orthodontic Retainers are Worn
Because teeth will continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers every night for the rest of their lives.
A patient should wear retainers all the time for three months following the removal of braces. After approximately three months, the patient can wear the orthodontic retainers just at night.
How to Care for Orthodontic Retainers
- Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards, or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
- Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth.
- Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
- Clean the retainers after removal from the mouth, whenever possible. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and toothpaste will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.
Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed. If the retainers are lost or damaged, there will be a charge for replacement. If the retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.
Fixed Retainers (Bonded Wire)
This wire should stay on forever. The only exception is if your family dentist says you are not keeping it clean and it is beginning to cause gum or bone problems. If this should occur, please call us to have the wire removed, and then we will replace it with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr. Don or Dr. Kim prescribes.
Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention
- Mouth breathing
- Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
- Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture, or abnormal tongue posture
- Playing a musical instrument with a reed
- Lip sucking
- Pen or pencil biting
- Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
- Severely rotated teeth
Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.
Dental Examinations and Cleanings
The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, including thorough brushing and flossing techniques. A dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.