The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you wear your orthodontic retainers. Keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:
Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is imperative that the retainers are worn as instructed. Failure to wear the retainers may result in undesirable movement of the teeth, which could necessitate re-treatment.
How Orthodontic Retainers are Worn
Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely. A patient should wear retainers full time for the first 4-6 months following the removal of braces.
After this brief period of full-time wear, the patient can wear the orthodontic retainers just at night. Dr. Kelly will continue to evaluate your retainer fit over the year following braces removal to ensure comfort, proper use and stable results.
How to Care for Orthodontic Retainers
- Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
- Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth.
- Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
- Clean before and after placement in the mouth. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.
Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed. If the retainers are lost or damaged due to neglect, there will be a charge for replacement. If the retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.
The Vivera Retainer (clear retainer)
Keep your smile straight with the Vivera retainer! The material is at least 30% stronger and twice as durable as other leading clear retainer materials. Your Vivera retainer is made from a 3D scan of your teeth and is custom-fit for your smile. This type of retainer provides a clear and comfortable retainer solution.
The Hawley Retainer
The Hawley retainer is a removable retainer made of a combination of metal wires and sturdy acrylic and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is made from a 3D scan of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while any wire or acrylic framing keeps your teeth in position.
Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)
This wire should stay on forever. The only exception is if your family dentist says you are not keeping it clean, and it is beginning to cause gum or bone problems. If this should occur, please have the wire removed and replace it with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr. Kelly prescribes. The fixed wire will protect the teeth as the patient gets older and your facial muscles get tighter. Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month checkups.
Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention
- Mouth breathing
- Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
- Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture or abnormal tongue posture
- Playing a musical instruments with a reed
- Lip sucking
- Pen or pencil biting
- Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
- Severely rotated teeth
Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.
Dental examinations and cleanings
The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, to include thorough brushing and flossing techniques. His or her family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.