Retainer Instructions

Your new smile will last a lifetime if you remember your responsibilities after treatment.


Removable Retainers

Once your orthodontic appliance is removed, you’ll receive retainers to stabilize the teeth and bones that have been changed. The bone and soft tissues around your teeth will continue to move for several months after your braces are taken off.

This means that if you don’t use your retainers as instructed, your teeth move back to their incorrect positions, and you might need retreatment.


How to Wear Your Retainers

Your teeth will never stop moving, so we recommend wearing a retainer for the rest of your life. For the first month after your braces are removed, you should wear your retainers all of the time.

After the first month, Dr. Ross may give you permission to wear the retainers just at night. This is to allow the wisdom teeth to develop without ruining your beautiful smile.

Once we have decided whether to remove your wisdom teeth or not, you’ll need to wear your retainer at least a few nights per week. As you get older, the muscles that surround your teeth will get tighter and place pressure on your teeth, which can make them move out of place.


How to Care for Retainers

  • Retainers are sensitive to heat, so you should keep them away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards, and any place that might get hotter than 115 degrees.
  • When not in your mouth, retainers should be kept in your retainer case.
  • Keep your retainers away from pets who might try to chew on them.
  • Clean before and after you put your retainers in your mouth. Plaque tends to stick to the surfaces. You can clean them by gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque. You can also use denture cleaning solution to remove plaque and tartar. Make sure you rinse your retainers after cleaning to get rid of any cleaner.

Because you wear your retainers for years, they will need to be replaced from time to time. We will provide one set of retainers, and any replacements will be an extra charge.

If your retainers are loose or break, contact our office immediately.


Fixed Retainers (Bonded Wire)

A fixed retainer wire should stay on forever. The only reason to take it off is if your family dentist says you’re not keeping it clean and it’s causing gum or bone problems.

If this happens, have the wire removed and replace it with a removable retainer. Follow Dr. Ross’ instructions when wearing a removable retainer.

The fixed wire will protect your teeth as you get older and your facial muscles get tighter. Please have this wire checked by your family dentist at your six-month check-ups.


Reasons for Stronger Retention

  • Mouth breathing
  • Clenching and/or grinding your 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. We can only accomplish this goal with your help.


Dental Exams and Cleanings

You should continue to brush and floss your teeth well at home. You should continue to see your family dentist every six months for cleaning and examinations.