When your braces are removed, the retention phase begins. This phase is essential to maintain your final orthodontic result. Retainers are needed to hold the teeth in alignment while the gums and bone surrounding the teeth adapt to their newly straightened positions. Wearing retainers exactly as instructed is the best insurance that the treatment results will last. Retainers are made from acrylic, metal, or clear plastic. Often, permanent retainers that are secured to the back of the teeth are used to ensure stability.
Put on and take off the retainers carefully the way we showed you. It is normal for retainers to feel tight at first. Sometimes it takes a few days to become adjusted to speaking and swallowing while wearing the retainers. You may remove the retainers for eating, sports, and cleaning your teeth. Any time you remove the retainers, they must be placed in their case. This will prevent them from being lost, damaged, or accidentally thrown away. Pets love to chew on them! The retainers should be cleaned daily by brushing them with toothbrush and toothpaste. Do not use the dishwasher or soak in mouthwash for an extended time. Denture cleaners may be used periodically. Please bring your retainers to each appointment so we may check them and make any necessary adjustments. The retainers must be worn for the prescribed amount of time to be effective. Your teeth can move even in a day or two if you forget to wear the retainers.
Fixed retainers are attached to the back of the teeth and should be kept as long as possible to prevent the teeth from moving out of place. Teeth will always have a tendency to return to their original positions, even if it has been many years since your treatment was finished. Keep the fixed retainers clean by brushing and flossing well around them. Floss threaders are helpful to guide the floss around them.