Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely.
A patient should wear the retainers full time for the first year after the braces are removed. Take them out when you eat or participate in a sport or activity where there is a risk of them being lost or broken. Keep them in their case when they are not in your mouth.
After approximately one year, most patients are able to limit retainer wear to during sleep and maintain the alignment of their teeth. The patient will know how much they need to wear the retainer based on how it fits: the retainers should fit passively – if they are tight for longer than five minutes, they need to be worn more. The teeth can and will continue to move throughout life. If you stop wearing your retainer for an extended period of time, your teeth will move – and it’s tricky to predict which teeth, or how much.
Following Dr. Huyser’s instructions for retainer wear is the best way to protect the investment of time and money you have made in your oral health.
Caring for 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 exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
- Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when not in the patient’s mouth.
- Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
- Clean before 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 toothpaste removes the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, aids in the removal of plaque and tartar. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.
If you continue to wear your retainer, it will need to be checked periodically (once a year at a minimum), and replaced every three to five years, as they do not last forever. If the wire that rests on the front of the teeth, is bent or the plastic is chipped or broken, call us immediately for an appointment.
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 – we make your smile straight, YOU make your smile great.
Dental Examinations and Cleanings
The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, including thorough brushing and flossing, as well as using the cleaning ‘tools and toys’ provided following placement of their orthodontic appliances. The family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleanings and dental examinations.