Now that your braces are off…
Congratulations! You’ve done it! We have removed the fixed orthodontic appliances from most or all of your teeth and you have a super smile. Now it’s time for you to wear retainers so you can preserve that beautiful smile. You are now entering the retention phase of your treatment, a phase which is just as important if not more important than the corrective phase you’ve just completed.
Tips for Retainers wear and care.
How often should I wear them? You need to wear your removable retainer(s) 24/7 until instructed otherwise. Typically, removable retainers are worn full time for 4 months, followed by 6 months of nighttime wear. Failure to do so will result in relapse of your newly straightened teeth. You should remove your retainer before brushing your teeth and before eating. It will take 5 – 10 days before you become fully adjusted to your retainer. At first, your retainer may make your teeth sore, increase saliva flow, and interfere with your speech. Do not be alarmed! You will adjust to your retainers as you did your braces.
How should I care for them? Your retainer(s) need to be cleaned everyday. Use your toothbrush to gently scrub the retainer after brushing your teeth. Because removable retainers are made of plastic, they must be given proper care. Avoid contact with hot liquids and do not leave them in any hot areas (near a heater, exposed to the sun, on the dash of your car, etc.). When your retainer is not being worn it should be stored in the plastic case provided, otherwise, you risk losing or breaking them. Never wrap them in a napkin or put them in your pocket. Never place your retainers where family pets or small children can reach them. For some reason, dogs love to eat retainers!!
What if I lose my retainer? Call the office immediately if your retainers are lost, broken or no longer fit as they did the day your received them. If you feel your teeth are not staying straight, call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Broadbent as soon as possible. Many times, Dr. Broadbent is able to adjust an ill-fitting retainer. If the retainer is lost or damaged there will be a charge for repair or replacement.
What if my retainer no longer fits? Over time, due to continued chewing forces, it is common to find, in later years, some tooth movement or minor shifting.This is not failure of our correction, but nature’s changes that we learn to expect just as we learn to expect changes in other portions of our body as we age.
Permanent retainers are the choice for patients who want to “get it and forget it”. Once your permanent retainer is placed in your mouth, you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since it is permanently affixed to your teeth. You will need to brush and floss it everyday in order to keep it clean, and to avoid plaque and tartar buildup. One drawback to permanent retainers is flossing. Some patients find it more difficult to floss wit a permanent retainer, but we can show you effective ways to floss fairly quickly. Also, permanent retainers behind the top teeth often break or become loose due to constant biting and chewing forces. If your permanent retainer comes off or becomes loose, call our office as soon as possible to prevent any unwanted tooth movement. If you choose a permanent top retainer, you will need to avoid the same foods you did when your braces were on to minimize damage. If the permanent retainer becomes loose in the first 30 days after your braces are removed, we will repair or replace it at no cost to you. There will be an appropriate fee to repair or replace a permanent retainer after 30 days
Sometimes we recommend a combination of these types of retainers; for example, a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lower teeth.
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing your retainer as directed is extremely important. As long as you follow your orthodontist’s advice, you will get the best results from your retainer, regardless of it’s type. We are always happy to help you in making the choice that is right for you.