When we remove your braces, your retention stage of treatment begins. Generally, patients receive clear, esthetic retainers. For certain individuals the doctor will prescribe Hawley retainers that are made of acrylic and wires. The first six months of retention are the most critical for the teeth are becoming stable to their new position in the arch. If retainers are not worn faithfully, the teeth may relapse to their former misaligned position. After the first six months of faithful retainer wear, the doctor will prescribe that you continue wearing the retainers at night to prevent any unwanted movement due to pressure exerted on the teeth by the erupting wisdom teeth or third molars.
Once the wisdom teeth have been removed, the doctor will usually tell you to wear your retainer one night a week and FOREVER! The doctor wants to preserve your beautiful smile and healthy bite for the rest of your life. He knows that bad habits may develop at a point in your life and that these habits may cause abnormal wear and movement of your teeth. Only faithful long term retainer wear will aid in detecting the onset of a bad habit. Bad oral habits include grinding or clenching your teeth, biting on objects like pens and pencils, etc. If you notice a “tight fit” when putting on your retainers that one designated night per week, it is usually due to some bad oral habit. If this happens, the doctor strongly recommends that you wear your retainers full time until the habit ceases.
With this information, the doctor warns that you cannot go without retainers. If lost or broken or if you have concerns regarding fit, make an appointment ASAP to preserve your beautiful smile and healthy bite that you worked so hard to achieve!!!
CARING FOR YOUR RETAINER
IMPORTANT – WEAR YOUR RETAINER!
It must be worn 24 HOURS A DAY, except when you are eating and brushing your teeth. If you play contact sports (football, basketball, etc.) take it out for the game, but don’t forget to put it back in! We will reduce the time you are required to wear your retainer over time.
KEEP IT CLEAN
When you are not wearing your retainer, place it in a glass of warm, not hot, water with denture cleaner. This prevents plaque from sticking to your retainer. DO NOT use hot water to clean or soak your retainer, as it may cause warping.
USE YOUR RETAINER CASE WHEN YOU ARE AWAY FROM HOME
This protects it from being stepped on, thrown away, lost, etc. Do not wrap the retainer in a napkin, for this is a very easy way for it to be thrown away. Make sure you write your name and phone number on your retainer case along with the doctor’s name. This will increase the chances of your retainer being returned to you if you lose it.
KEEP IT AWAY FROM PETS
Pets love to chew retainers. Make sure when it is not in your mouth it is in it’s case up on a counter or shelf where your pet can not reach it.
BROKEN OR LOST RETAINERS
If your retainer is lost or broken there will be a replacement charge. DO NOT WAIT TO CALL. Your teeth can move very quickly. If you have questions or problems, please call and we will be glad to help you.