You’ve worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!
Finally, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful, straight, and best of all, metal-free! 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 muscle adjust to the new positioning of your teeth.
Removable retainers should be taken out for eating and hygiene routines. It is obvious if the retainers are not being worn enough because they will feel tight on teeth that are moving. They can be lost or destroyed by dogs, so remember to keep yours in the case whenever you remove it to eat or brush.
- When you first get your braces off, wear your retainer for 18 hours per day, until Dr. Ward instructs otherwise.
- Take your retainer out when eating, and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
- Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and liquid dish soap. 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. Soaking retainers in white vinegar will disolve tarter and remove stains.
- When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
- Initially, you may notice they affect your speech. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If it gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
- 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.
- Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
- Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
- Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.