Once braces are removed, the teeth often want to move back towards their original positions within the mouth. Braces may have successfully moved your teeth into place, but their bones, gums, and muscles need time to adapt to the newly corrected tooth positions. Retainers help prevent teeth from relapsing, or moving back to their former position, and promote the long-term success of orthodontic treatment.
The time you will spend in your retainers is as important as the time you have spent wearing braces.
- Wear your retainers as directed until your doctor instructs otherwise.
- Take your retainers out when eating, and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants, or get chewed up by pets.)
- Remove retainers when swimming.
- Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. 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.
- Initially, you may find it slightly different to speak. Practice speaking or reading aloud to get used to them faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or if your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
- Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
- Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.