What Are Retainers for Teeth?
An orthodontic retainer is a device that is seated in a patients mouth to keep the teeth from sliding or shifting out of their new alignment after successful treatment.
All patients – regardless of their age, treatment furation, and appliances used will need to wear an orthodontic retainer at the conclusion of their treatment.
Why is this?
Retention is actually the most important part of care since, without proper retention, the gains made during treatment may fail.
Your teeth are attached to your gums and underlying by microscopic fibers, some of which have elastic, stretchy qualities… like a rubber band.
When you’re wearing braces, the braces overpower these fibers in order to move the teeth. But like a stretched rubber band, the fibers in the gums want to return to their old position after stretching, and in doing so can move the teeth back toward where they started. This is why the “retention phase” – and your commitment to wearing your retainer as instructed, is so important!
In most cases, Dr. Keith Koch asks patients to wear a retainer full-time after treatment, followed by nights only. The instructions for retainer wear vary according to the specific needs of each case.
Retainer Care – What the Patient Is Responsible For
We will issue you a plastic case for your retainer, and have additional cases in our office for no charge. When your retainer is not in your mouth, it is to be secured in its case.
Please call our office immediately so we can schedule an appointment if:
- Your retainer gets damaged
- You lose your retainer and can’t recover it
- Your retainer is causing you significant pain and discomfort in your mouth. Like any oral appliance, wearing a retainer may take some time to get used to, but should not be causing any sort of significant discomfort or pain. Call us so we can perform a retainer check.
Cleaning Your Orthodontic Retainer
You should give your retainer a cleaning once a week using a soft-bristled toothbrush using either cool or lukewarm water or a “paste” of water and baking soda.
Try to avoid too hot a water temperature (think “scalding” or “boiling”) as well – it may warp your retainer, causing it to be ill-fitting in your mouth.
Regularly soaking your retainer for at least 20 minutes will help prevent plaque build-up and discoloration You can use a white vinegar/water mixture, a denture cleanser, or Retainer Brite.
After soaking your retainer, be sure to thoroughly rinse it before seating it back in your mouth.
- Boiling water
- Cleaning Chemicals