Proper Care Techniques for Your Orthodontic Retainer

dental retainersYour retainer is a removable orthodontic appliance carefully designed to maintain your teeth in their correct positions. Your teeth may be perfectly straight when we take your braces off, but the bone around your teeth and your gums need to reshape themselves to these new teeth positions. This takes anywhere from several months to years.

Our retainer instructions are fairly easy to follow:

For the first three to six months: During this period, it is extremely important that you wear your retainers 24 hours per day, seven days per week except during meals.

For the next 12 months: wear you retainer at bedtime every night.

After that, you can reduce the amount of nighttime wear. Adult patients may never be able to reduce this to less than nightly wear, 7 nights per week. Adult teeth have a greater tendency to shift following removal of braces.

You should not cut down on the wearing of your retainer below that which will maintain proper position of your teeth, regardless of any other instructions. When you wear your retainer at night and teeth are tender, more wear is needed.

Your retainers are to be taken out to eat. They may be left in when drinking cool, sugarless liquids.

Remove and insert your retainers carefully to avoid breaking the plastic or deforming the wires.

Brush your retainer with toothpaste when you brush your teeth. Cleansers intended for dentures will aid in keeping retainers clean.

DO NOT expose your plastic retainers to heat – – they will warp. Use cold water to clean your retainers.

Your retainers will lose their “plastic” taste within a few days. Soaking your retainer in mouthwash may help, although colored mouthwash can cause the retainer to discolor.

The retainer may affect your speech initially. Leave the retainer in and your tongue will adapt to the retainer in a few days. It helps to read aloud from a book to learn to speak clearly with your new retainers.

For our patients who have had fixed or bonded retainers placed, please call us immediately if part of the retainer breaks or comes loose. If you wait, we are not responsible if your teeth shift and you need to have braces put back on.

For patients with any kind of retainer, should you LOSE or BREAK this retainer, there will be an additional charge for us to remake this appliance. You need to contact our office as soon as possible so a replacement retainer can be made. As above, should you delay in contacting us, we are not responsible if your teeth shift and you need to have braces put back on.

Please remember the following:

Never wrap your retainer in a napkin when eating. It will be forgotten when you leave the table and will be thrown away.
Never place your retainer in your pocket without the retainer in its case – it will get broken.
Never leave your retainer out of its case where a pet or small child can find it. Pets love to chew on the plastic, which, to them, smells like you.
Always store your retainer in its proper case when it’s not in your mouth. This will solve broken retainer problems.
Always bring your retainer to your adjustment appointment.

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