When we remove your braces you will begin the retention part of your treatment. You are now in charge of your orthodontic results. We ask that you wear the retainers 24 hours per day for 6 months. After 6 months of full time wear, you may then begin night time wear of the retainers.
Retainers should be removed to eat or drink anything other than water. Be sure to clean the retainer and your teeth before replacing the retainer in your mouth. To clean the retainers use cool water and a clean toothbrush. You may also use a denture cleaner.
The retainers will help maintain the teeth in their present position. The teeth still have the ability to move after orthodontic treatment. Biting forces and habits may influence any changes you may notice. If the retainers are not worn consistently, the teeth will move enough so the retainers no longer fit.
Types of Retainers
We use three different types of retainers depending on the particular needs of the patient. All three kinds have advantages and disadvantages. We will tell you about them and indicate which one will be best for you.
- Hawley Retainers
Acrylic retainers with wires are the traditional type of retainers. The Hawley retainers are very fragile as the plastic material may crack if dropped or sat upon. The wires may need periodic adjustment.
- Clear Retainers
You will hear us call them E-tainers as they are an esthetic retainer. E-tainers are made from clear plastic material. The retainer will fit over the teeth including the biting surface of the teeth. This type of retainer can distort if exposed to heat such as in a hot car.
- Fixed or Bonded Retainer
A fixed retainer is a thin stainless steel wire that is bonded to the inside of the lower and /or the upper teeth. This is a fragile type of retainer. The bonded wire may come loose from a tooth and the only way you may know is after tooth movement has occurred. This retainer will hold a few teeth and other teeth can move. Patients will also find this retainer a challenge to keep the teeth clean.
Wear and Care of Retainers
- Be sure to wear the retainer. We have all worked hard to achieve your result.
- Long term wear of the retainers is advised, which means wear the retainers for as long as you want the teeth to stay in position.
- Your dog will eat your retainer. Your friend’s dog will eat your retainer.
- Exposing the retainer to heat such as hot water or leaving it in a hot car may distort the retainer and it will need to be replaced.
- Put your retainer in the case and leave it in your desk or locker before lunch. That way it won’t be left on the lunch tray and thrown in the garbage.
- Please bring your retainer to each visit.
- Please do not wear your retainer when swimming and during active sports.