Upon completion of your active orthodontic treatment there is much to celebrate. However, all of the work is not done. The retention period is just as important as the active movement phase of your treatment process. Once the teeth have been moved into the desired position, a period of time is needed to stabilize the teeth so that the surrounding bone and soft tissues conform to your new dental alignment.
When the retainers are initially placed, following completion of the orthodontic treatment, they provide the very important function of holding the teeth in one position for a period of time. This allows the surrounding bone and gum tissue to “tighten up” and adapt. Except when eating, brushing, flossing or playing active sports, please wear your retainer at all times. Compliance during this “active wear” phase is critical to allow you to successfully move to the next phase.
Once the “active wear” phase of the retainers is complete, you will generally only need to wear the retainers enough to keep fitting, which may be one or two nights per week for most patients.
Keeping your retainer in a case will prevent loss or damage. Brush the retainer with cool water and soak it in dental cleanser or mouthwash periodically to keep it fresh. Never put it in hot water. If you cannot brush your teeth after eating, rinse off the retainer and place it back in your mouth or in your case. Call us right away if you break or lose your retainer.
Faithful wear of your retainers will ensure that you enjoy a long term benefit from your orthodontic treatment. It is also important to know that, even with full compliance to your recommended retainer regimen, some small amount of movement is considered normal.
Here Are A Few Things To Remember During The Years Of Retainer Wear
- Don’t fold it in your napkin or leave it on the table at a restaurant. Garbage cans don’t make happy hunting grounds.
- Don’t put your retainer in your pocket. You might sit on it and break it. OUCH!
- Take your retainer out when swimming in a lake or ocean. If it falls out you may not be able to find it. The same goes for a swimming pool depending on the size of the pool.
- Animals and younger children love to play with it. Please make sure your retainer is in your mouth at all times. Your retainer should only be out of your mouth when eating or brushing.
- Your lower retainer may be a fixed retainer bonded onto your teeth. It is not considered permanent and can be broken or detached from your teeth, if you are not careful with it.
- Bring your retainers to your check-up appointment. If anything happens to your retainers (i.e. it doesn’t fit, it’s broken, or it’s lost) please call us ASAP. If your lower bonded retainer wire comes out, keep it and bring it in at your next appointment for rebonding.
- The first set of retainers is included in your treatment fee. Any repair, replacement of your retainer, or rebonding of your lower retainer will be additional and charged to your account.
- Keep things clean! Be sure to brush your teeth without your retainers in. Do not boil your retainer or put it in hot water. Brush your retainer with a toothbrush using toothpaste or water.