Once your braces are removed, you will wear retainers to maintain your hard-earned orthodontic results. Follow these instructions for wearing your retainers:
- Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
- Wear your retainer at all times until Dr. Duncan instructs otherwise.
- Remove your retainer when eating and put it in its case. Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.
- Remove your retainer before you swim.
- When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
- Clean your retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm, not hot, water. Brushing retainers removes plaque and eliminates odors. Polident or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine and napkins.
- Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you think it may need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
- Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
What if I don’t wear my retainers?
Wearing retainers after the active phase of your orthodontic treatment is completed is critical to maintaining your hard earned results. If retainers have been worn according to the recommendations of your orthodontist, you shouldn’t typically expect to see tooth movement afterward. If you haven’t worn your retainers as prescribed, however, and minor tooth movement becomes an issue, there are options for giving you back your beautiful smile without repeating your previous treatment:
- An active retainer has unique wires that allow teeth to move to the location desired. It is worn 20 hrs/day for 2 to 4 months, depending on how much tooth movement is required. Getting started involves 2 appointments: the first for 20-30 minutes to take an impression of your teeth and, 2 days later, a second appointment for 20 minutes to insert your custom retainer. You then see Dr. Duncan every 6 to 8 weeks for 10-20 minutes each time until your teeth have moved to their desired position. Once active treatment is complete, your retainer is worn nightly to maintain tooth position.
- Express Invisalign® is specifically designed for people whose tooth movement concerns can be corrected in 10 or fewer stages of Invisalign® aligners. Getting started involves 3 appointments over 5 weeks (see Invisalign® for detailed info). You then see Dr. Duncan every 6 to 8 weeks for 10-15 minutes each time, for approximately 3 to 6 months. Once active treatment is complete, your corrected tooth position will be maintained with typical retainers.