Removing braces signals the start of the retention phase of your orthodontic care. Please remember that this part of your orthodontic treatment is just as important as the active phase with braces in determining the ultimate success of your treatment. Once the teeth have been moved into their desired positions, a period of time is needed to stabilize the teeth so that the surrounding bone and soft tissue can conform to your new dental alignment. When braces are removed, it is a good time to review several important aspects of care.

How long are retainers worn?

The retention phase of treatment normally spans about 12 months. During this period, appointments are scheduled with decreasing frequency. Usually retainers are worn at all times during the first six months after braces are removed, except when brushing, flossing, and eating or during active sports. As retention continues, the retainers are generally worn at night indefinitely. Each person’s requirements are different and a longer period or a different schedule may be recommended to maintain the desired changes that have been achieved.

Will my teeth move back after treatment?

If you don't wear your retainers, your teeth will move out of position. The position and fit of the teeth naturally changes throughout your life, with or without orthodontic treatment. Our goal in the retention phase of your treatment is to limit these changes while maintaining both a good functional and aesthetic result.

How do I care for my retainers?

Keeping the retainers either in the mouth or in the case will avoid loss or breakage that could lead to extra expense. Brushing the retainer with cool water and toothpaste and soaking it in cleanser or mouthwash periodically will keep it fresh. Never place your retainer in hot water, as it may become distorted and require replacement. Beware of putting your retainer in a pocket where it might become broken. Also, avoid leaving it out where pets could find it or it could become lost.

Patients with bonded retainers should take extra care when flossing. If the wire retainer becomes loose or detaches, save the wire and call our office immediately to have the retainer replaced.

What if a retainer is lost or broken?

Call us right away for an appointment to replace or repair your retainer. Although there may be a charge for replacement or repair, it is a relatively inexpensive way to protect the investment you have made in your orthodontic care.