Some General Information About Retainers
Congratulations! You have completed the active phase of orthodontic treatment.
During the active phase of your treatment, your teeth were moved into their current position. Now, you have to help keep your teeth in place. That’s where the next phase of treatment, retention, comes in and it is every bit as important as the active phase. Wearing retainers is simple, but it requires your cooperation for success.
To Do Your Part
– Wear your retainers as prescribed by the orthodontist.
– Keep your retainers clean.
– Store your retainers properly when you are not wearing them.
– Avoid damaging your retainers (check your specific retainer type for the Don’ts).
– Let the orthodontist know as soon as possible should the retainer feel like it is not fitting properly.
Retainers come in three major types: standard removable retainers, essix (clear) removable retainers and cemented or non-removable retainers. The orthodontist will select the one most appropriate to your specific case. Each type of retainer has specific wear and care instructions. Please follow these instructions as carefully as possible. The retention phase of treatment should be viewed as a continuation of orthodontic treatment. It is very important to wear your retainers as prescribed by the orthodontist. Proper retainer wear will help to hold your teeth in their new positions.
If you do not wear your retainers as prescribed, your teeth will move or shift as your teeth try to return to the original positions they occupied before you began orthodontic treatment. If you stop wearing your retainers too early, the teeth will move rapidly.
When We Need to See You
Once you receive your retainers, you will need to come in 8-week intervals. The orthodontist will assess your progress and may lengthen these intervals to 3 months, 6 months or 1-year depending on your individual case.
Please try and keep to the schedule that the orthodontist prescribes as the earlier shifting or movement is detected the easier it will be for the orthodontist to minimize it. Patients who do not wear their retainers as prescribed may require retreatment. We will gladly retreat you for relapse that you caused by not wearing your retainer(s), but you will be charged for such treatment.
Lost or Broken Retainers
Should you lose or break one of your retainers, please call the office. We will schedule an appointment with the orthodontist. Broken retainers may require a repair rather than a total replacement. There is a charge for replacement retainers.
If you do require a replacement retainer, we will need to schedule two appointments, each equally important. The first appointment will be to take an impression of your teeth so that we may fabricate a new retainer. The second appointment, usually approximately scheduled a week later, is to fit the retainer. As with your first retainer(s), the replacement retainer(s) need to be fitted to the teeth by the orthodontist.
Frequently Asked Questions – Retainer Wear and Use
How Can I Clean My Retainer?
If you have a standard retainer (not clear), then simply brush the retainer when you brush your teeth. If you have an Essix retainer (clear), then clean the retainer also by brushing, but do not use toothpaste as this will make the retainer look cloudy. For both types of retainers, you should soak your retainer in a denture cleaner at least once a week. Never put your retainer in hot or boiling water to clean it as this will distort and/or melt the retainer. Never put your retainer in the dishwasher. It will definitely melt.
How Long Will I Have to Wear My Retainer
You will probably wear your retainer for between two and four years. You spent a number of months getting your teeth in place with braces, now you have to make sure that result stabilizes by wearing your retainers. As the retention phase of your treatment progresses, you will wear your retainers fewer hours per week.
If I Don’t Wear My Retainers, What Will Happen?
If you do not wear your retainers as prescribed, your teeth will move. Such movement may require retreatment at an extra charge to you.
What Happens If I Lose or Break My Retainer?
Should you lose or break one of your retainers, please call the office at (978) 256-2526. We will schedule an appointment with the orthodontist. Broken retainers may require a repair rather than a total replacement. There is a charge for replacement retainers. If you do require a replacement retainer, we will need to schedule two appointments, each equally important. The first appointment will be to take an impression of your teeth so that we may fabricate a new retainer. The second appointment is to fit the retainer. As with your first retainer(s), the replacement retainer(s) need to be fitted to the teeth by the orthodontist.
Wearing The Retainer
Check for specific instructions under the type of retainer you have:
standard (removable), essix (clear removable), or cemented (non-removable).
Know Where It Is – First rule of retainer wear: when you are not wearing your retainer, keep it in the retainer case provided along with a damp paper towel.
Pick a Time – If you are not wearing your retainer 24 hours, try and pick a time to wear it as prescribed so that retainer wear becomes part of your normal routine.
Cleaning – Brush your retainer when you brush your teeth. Once a week, you may wish to soak your retainer in denture cleaner to freshen it up. Never try and clean your retainer in the dishwasher or in boiling water. It will melt.