Retainers are used to maintain the corrected position of the teeth after braces have been removed. Teeth are still subject to move even after orthodontic treatment, especially from pressure due to developing wisdom teeth, and maturation. For the first 6-12 months you will wear your retainer(s) 24 hours a day. Only after the doctor directs, should a patient start wearing them less time.
1. Your retainers must be worn 24 hours a day to keep teeth from shifting. Do not reduce wearing time unless directed by the doctor.
2. There are some Exceptions. When retainers are not in your mouth keep them safe in your case.
a. Swimming-Water can flush them out of the mouth if swallowed.
b. Playing Contact Sports-Any sport that requires a fitted mouth guard, or results in bodily contact where your retainers can be knocked out your mouth.
c. Eating hard foods-These could easily break the acrylic or bend the wires
3. ALWAYS store your retainers in the cases provided when they are out of your mouth. Retainers placed into pockets, purses, backpacks will easily get lost or broken.
4. Wrap retainers in a moist paper towel to prevent the acrylic from drying out.Make sure the retainers are clean before wrapping them. Do not reuse the same paper towel. Change it each time.
5. NEVER wrap your retainers in a napkin. Most retainers are lost this way.
6. Keep your retainers away from pets, especially dogs. Dogs will think they are a chew toy.
7. Never store your retainers near a heat source, in a hot car, or lying out in the sun. This will cause the acrylic to dry out and distort.
8. There is a fee to replace lost, broken, distorted retainers that is a separate charge from your treatment fee. Retainers last many years with proper care and storage.
9. Keep your retainers clean! Brush them every time they are removed from your mouth. Retainers can accumulate plaque on them if not kept clean. Use your toothbrush and tooth paste to clean them daily. Once a week you can use retainer cleaner, found in many stores, 3% hydrogen peroxide, or white vinegar to soak them for a deep clean. (Mix white vinegar: use a small butter dish – ½ vinegar, ½ water, soak for 15 minutes, then brush with toothpaste to remove vinegar smell and taste)
10. Retainer Checks are usually semi-annual. This is to monitor your orthodontic stability. It is important to bring retainers to each of these appointments, so the doctor can check the fit and adjust as needed.If your retainers become ill-fitting, please call our office to have them checked. Do not wait for your next appointment.
TYPES OF RETAINERS:
1) Maxillary Hawley: (acrylic retainer with a wire placed across the front of teeth for Top teeth)
(1) Place the wire against the front teeth
(2) Use your thumbs to seat the acrylic into the roof of your mouth
(1) Slide your finger nail under the rear metal clasps and pull the retainer off the back teeth
(2) Remove the retainer
2) Mandibular Hawley: (acrylic retainer with a wire placed across the front of teeth for bottom teeth)
(3) Place the wire against the front teeth
(4) Use your thumbs to seat the acrylic into your mouth
(1) Slide your finger nail under the acrylic wither in the back of your front teeth or along the molars and dislodge the retainer.
(2) Remove the retainer
(1) Do not use tongue suction to “pop” the retainer in and out repeatedly, This weakens the retainer and wires, causing breakage. This can also cause the wire to wear a groove into the enamel of your front teeth.
(2) Do not pull on the front wires to insert of remove the retainer. This will distort and break the wires.
Fixed Lingual Retainers: (a wire or special bar bonded to the back of your front teeth on top or bottom)
(1) Floss under the bonded wire by using a Floss Threader and floss to prevent plaque build-up. Brush well around the bonded wire.
(2) AVOID gum chewing, or eating any type of sticky, chewy foods that could loosen your fixed retainer.
(3) A loosened fixed retainer needs to be re-cemented as soon as possible to prevent movement of teeth and possible decay of teeth under the wire or bonding pads.
5) Tru-Tains (or) Essix Retainers:
(1) Insert your Tru-Tain or Essix by placing it on the chewing surface of your front teeth and running your finger along from front to back to seat the retainer.
(2) To Remove the Tru-Tain or Essix, first lift it off the molar teeth then around to the incisor teeth.
(3) Remove the retainer
1) If your retainers feel snug, or painful when inserting, it means you still need more wear. Go to full-time 24 hour wear, until the ease of fit is achieved.
2) If your retainers are not fitting, call our office to schedule an appointment for an adjustment. The longer you wait the less chance there is to make the retainers fit.
3) Restorations: NEW Fillings, Crowns, Implants, Partials, Bridges can cause your retainers not to fit.Call our office to schedule an appointment for and adjustment, or possible fabrication of a new retainer.
Any questions regarding retainers and their fit and use should be directed to the orthodontic staff.