When we remove your braces or you complete your clear aligner transformation, your orthodontic treatment isn’t over yet! Now, you begin the retention stage of your orthodontic treatment.
Retainers solidify the hard work you put into your treatment. They support your new smile and hold your teeth in their final position to prevent them from shifting and reverting to their original position.
The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far! When you first begin wearing your retainer, you’ll wear it for 24 hours, through the day and night. After about 12 months, we’ll let you know when you can reduce your wear to nights only!
Remember to remove your retainer before brushing your teeth, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth. You can soak your retainer in a retainer or denture cleansing solution regularly to prevent bacteria buildup.
Maxillary wrap-around retainers are your upper, removable retainers. The most common types of removable retainers are Hawley retainers and Essix retainers. The Hawley retainer includes an acrylic center that rests in the palate of your mouth, with small metal wires that fit between your back teeth to hold the retainer in place. The Essix retainer is very similar to a clear aligner, made of transparent plastic that fits around the entire dental arch.
You must be very careful when handling your removable retainers! They’re fragile and costly to replace. We’ll give you a special case for your retainer; please make sure you keep it in this case when you’re not wearing it! (You’d be surprised how many people throw away their retainer on mistake.)
To clean your removable retainer, brush it with toothpaste after each wear. You can soak it in a denture cleaner or retainer cleaner with warm water too.
A fixed retainer is cemented to the back of your teeth and typically remains in place for a lifetime. These permanent retainers include a thin metal wire, custom-designed to fit your dental arch, with each end cemented to the back surface of a tooth. Fixed retainers may be bonded behind the upper teeth, the lower teeth, or both, depending on your specific condition.
If you have a fixed retainer, it’s important that you brush and floss your teeth thoroughly each day! Food particles can get trapped within your fixed retainer, leading to bacteria growth. We’ll show you how to properly floss behind your fixed retainer when you’re beginning the retention phase!
There won’t be an additional fee for your retainer, unless you happen to damage it or lose it.
At the end of your braces or clear aligner treatment, we’ll give you your custom-designed, removable retainer! As long as you keep your retainer in great shape, and you store it in your designated carrying case each time you take it out of your mouth, you shouldn’t have to worry about a retainer cost.
In the event that you do damage your retainer significantly or lose it, you will be responsible for a replacement fee. If you require a replacement retainer at any point, please contact our office.