The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you wear your orthodontic retainers. Keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:
Removable RetainersOnce the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is critical that the retainers are worn as instructed. Failure to wear the retainers may result in undesirable movement of the teeth, which could necessitate re-treatment.
How Orthodontic Retainers are WornBecause teeth continue to move throughout life, strong evidence indicates that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should indefinitely wear retainers while sleeping. As we age, our teeth become more crowded, especially in the lower anterior region. The only way to prevent this movement, is to routinely wear your retainers. At Melrose Orthodontics, each retainer protocol is personalized to your specific orthodontic treatment. Upon completion of orthodontic tooth movement, Dr. Casey will prescribe the appropriate retention program for your case and modify it as needed. A patient should expect to wear retainers all the time for a minimum of 3 months following the removal of orthodontic appliances, including clear aligners. You will be transitioned to wearing your orthodontic retainer just at night as Dr. Casey sees fit.
How to Care for Orthodontic Retainers
- Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures may exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
- Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth.
- Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
- Clean before and after placement in the mouth. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Retainer Brite, will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.
Fixed Retainers (Bonded Wire)This wire should stay on forever. The only exception is if your family dentist says you are not keeping it clean and it is beginning to cause gum or bone problems. If this should occur, please contact our office to have the wire removed and replace it with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr. Casey prescribes. The fixed wire will protect the teeth as the patient gets older and teeth naturally shift. Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month check ups.
Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention
- Mouth breathing
- Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
- Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture or abnormal tongue posture
- Playing a musical instruments with a reed
- Lip sucking
- Pen or pencil biting
- Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
- Severely rotated teeth
Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.