Retainers and Retention
Congratulations! You have reached a milestone in your orthodontic journey. Now that your braces are off, it is time to begin the retention phase. This stage of treatment is crucial for maintaining your new smile. Our team at Smile Orthodontics has compiled this list of retainer instructions so you know exactly how to handle and care for your new appliance.
Wear Your Retainers Full Time for the First Year
Your teeth are in their new positions, but they are still vulnerable and prone to movement. Therefore, it is important that you wear your retainers full time for the first year after your braces come off. Remove them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss.
Decrease to Nighttime Wear after the First Year
After the first year, you will be re-evaluated. If your teeth are stable, your doctor will allow you to reduce your retainer wear to nighttime only. Research suggests that small amounts of growth and movement can occur throughout every phase of life. This could lead to varying degrees of shifting of the teeth and jaws. Therefore, it is important to wear your upper and lower retainers every night for long-term success and maintenance.
In some cases, patients may be able to eventually decrease their wear to one or two times per week. Ask your doctor for specific guidelines regarding your situation.
Clean Your Retainers
Brush your retainers at least twice per day with cold water and a toothbrush. Denture cleaners, such as Efferdent®, can also be used to keep plaque deposits from accumulating.
Use Your Protective Case
Whenever you are not wearing your retainers, keep them in the protective case. This is vital, especially if you have pets. They love to chew on retainers, and it only takes a moment for your puppy to destroy them.
Avoid wrapping your retainers in napkins, as they are difficult to see, and are often subsequently thrown away. Keeping them stored in your case makes them much easier to see.
Avoid Heat at All Costs
Heat can warp your retainers. Avoid leaving them in a hot car, or in your pocket (where they could end up in the clothes dryer).
Bring Your Retainers to Your Appointments
Always bring your retainers with you when you visit the office. We will assess your appliance to ensure it is working properly. We can also make any necessary adjustments.
Retainers are Valuable
If your retainers are broken or lost, the replacements costs just as much as the originals. With proper care, retainers can last for several years. Save yourself time, worry, and money by keeping up with them!
Contact Our Office
If your retainers are broken, lost, or stolen, contact our office right away. It is important to have a replacement made so that you can protect your investment. To learn more, call one of our Suffolk, VA locations, or contact us online anytime.