Retainers

TeenBoy_Braces_2Once the teeth are moved to their corrected positions, they must be held in place or "retained" while the surrounding gum tissue and bone adapt. There is a strong tendency for teeth to shift back to their original positions or "relapse" following orthodontic treatment and some amount of shifting is to be expected. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainer wear and this period of retention is equally as important as the period of active treatment.

For the first six months, the retainers are to be worn at all times except while eating, brushing, and playing sports or musical instruments. After six months of retention, the retainers should be worn while sleeping. The lack of wearing retainers as directed for the length of time necessary to retain a stable position will have but one result: relapse of the teeth toward their former position. A relapse may mean that the appliances need to be placed again. It also means additional expense and inconvenience.

Retainer Care

Retainers should be brushed with your toothbrush after meals. Occasionally, you may want to soak them in white vinegar for one hour to remove tartar build-up and keep them smelling fresh. If you bend the wires, the retainers will not fit properly. Do not expose your retainers to any excessive heat (hot or boiling water, inside cars in the summer). They may warp and not fit correctly. Keep them away from pets and young children.