Retainers are constructed for the purpose of holding your teeth after removal of your braces so that they will stabilize while the bone strengthens around them. Since retainers are removable, their use and care is entirely dependant upon the patient.
Wearing Your Retainer
You should wear your retainers at all times, except when eating, brushing your teeth, playing contact sports and swimming. When you are NOT wearing your retainers, keep them safely in the case provided.
Most patients will wear their retainers full time for 6 months to one year. Once we determine that the bone and soft tissues have adapted sufficiently, we will instruct you to decrease your wear to nighttimes indefinitely (yes- that means forever). This will ensure that your teeth will not relapse to their original “crooked” position.
There are several common ways that retainers are lost or broken. PLEASE…
- DO NOT place your retainers loose in a purse or pocket
- DO NOT wrap them in a napkin which can easily be thrown away
- DO NOT bite them into place with your teeth; always use your fingers
- DO NOT use your tongue to “play” with your retainers
- DO NOT place them where your family pet can reach them (they WILL eat them)
It is completely normal for your retainers to feel “bulky” at first. Speech may be difficult and will usually return to normal within a few days. The day after receiving your retainers your teeth may feel sore, similar to when you had your braces adjusted. This is normal and will not last long.
How to care for your Retainers
You will want to clean your retainers after eating, and every morning and night by taking them out and brushing them well. It is not necessary to soak your retainers during the day once you begin wearing them at night only. Never clean or place your retainers in HOT water as this can melt your retainer!
If you have an “invisible” retainer with a sharp edge that is irritating your tongue or gum tissue, it can usually be smoothed by gently using a nail file.
We do charge to replace a lost or broken retainer, so please take care of them! If you loose or break your retainer, please call the office immediately so that we can make arrangements with you to replace it. Please also contact us if you feel your retainer isn’t fitting properly as metal retainers may require routine adjustment- or your teeth may be moving!
It takes hard work to achieve a beautiful smile- with the proper care and wear of your retainers it will last a lifetime!