After treatment, you’ll likely need to use one or more retainers, whether you achieved your beautiful smile through the use of lingual braces, suresmile, or Invisalign®. In general, once the braces come off, a retainer goes in, preserving your smile and helping your teeth stay in place.
Retainers are typically made of wire, plastic, or both. They are designed to hold your teeth in place so that all of the “work” that went into your orthodontic procedure isn’t lost once the initial treatment ends.
Types of Retainers
There are two types of retainers available: fixed and removable. As the names imply, one is bonded or fixed in place so that it is always worn, and the other type of may be removed at will. Although many patients prefer removable retainers, they can be lost or not used properly, resulting in post-treatment orthodontic relapse that negates original results.
- Take proper care of your retainers. Do not adjust them, clean them with hot water or a dishwasher, or leave them out of their case when not in use.
- Wear your retainer(s) all of the time, until the doctor tells you otherwise. If you’re wearing yours, you’re less likely to lose them and lose your new smile.
- Clean them daily with a toothbrush, non-abrasive toothpaste, and warm (not hot) water. Tartar-control and whitening toothpastes are typically abrasive, so refrain from using those.
- Keep them in your retainer case when they are not in your mouth.
- Remove your retainer(s) when you swim or eat. And remember to put them in their case.
- Do not keep them in or near hot environments (like hot car dashboards), washing machines, or your pockets.
- Treat your retainer gently. They are breakable.
- Bring your retainer(s) to your appointments. That way your orthodontist can inspect them for wear or shifting.
- Wear your retainer as directed. Do not stop wearing them until directed to do so by your orthodontist.
How often will I need to wear my retainers?
For those with removable retainer(s), most are instructed to wear their retainers full time for at least six months after their braces come off. After six months to a year, your orthodontist may reduce how often you need to wear them down to nights only, when you are sleeping.
Why do I have to wear retainers if my orthodontic treatment is done?
Just because your braces are off doesn’t mean your orthodontic treatment is complete. To retain your new and improved smile, you’ll need to use your retainer as directed by your orthodontist. If you do not, your teeth will slowly move back to their original positioning.
Why shouldn’t I eat or drink with my retainers in?
Eating with them in is typically uncomfortable. Plus, food and liquid can get stuck under your retainers, causing decay and bad smells.
I think there’s something wrong with my retainers. What should I do?
If you have any questions or concerns, contact us. Also, if they need adjusting or if you’ve lost them, schedule an appointment. It is vital that they are adjusted or replaced as soon as possible. We offer three convenient treatment locations in Milwaukee, Racine, and Brookfield.