Orthodontic Treatment By Wearing Retainers

When your braces are removed you will get the first glimpse of your new smile and the retention stage of your treatment will begin. Most patients are unaware that this stage of orthodontic treatment is just as important as the active movement part in determining the final look of a smile. Retainers stabilize your teeth after your braces have been removed. Without retainers, habits, changing dental health, latent facial growth and biting pressures can cause your teeth to move, even after braces.

How long will I need to wear my retainers?

The retention supervision phase lasts about two years. The success of this stage is based upon whether you attend your appointments and follow our directions for wearing your retainers. Adjustment and checkup appointments are scheduled during this period with decreasing frequency. You will wear your retainers all the time for the first three months after your braces are removed. As the retention process continues, we may ask you to only wear your retainer at night for an additional year, which will mark the end of the retention supervision phase. After this point you should wear your retainers three to four times a week indefinitely. Requirements for wearing your retainers may differ from those of other patients’ based on the original problem, and stages of growth and development.

Will my teeth move back after treatment?

Even if you do not receive orthodontic treatment, the fit of your teeth will more than likely change throughout your lifetime. We realize that the position of your teeth will change after you discontinue use of your retainers, but retainers are used to minimize those adjustments. Retainers work with the natural changes that will occur in your mouth to maintain the fit achieved during treatment.

How do I take care of my retainers?

To avoid breaking or losing your retainers, keep them in your mouth or in their case. Make sure to brush them daily using cool water and toothpaste. You can also use a mouthwash or denture cleanser on a regular basis to keep them fresh. Keep them away from hot water, which tends to distort the material and could result in the need for a new set. Take care to not leave your retainers in reach of pets, in your pocket, or other places where they could be lost or overlooked. A common mistake, for example, is wrapping retainers in a napkin when you eat, and leaving them at the table.

Why Final Records Are Important

We recommend that you ask us to take a final set of photographs and X-rays after your active treatment is complete. These are known as final records, and will be used to evaluate your wisdom teeth, review your treatment and plan your retention period. We also advise that an additional X-ray be taken at the end of your retention supervision phase to check your wisdom teeth. After the retention supervision stage is complete, there is a fee for X-rays, office visits and appliance checks.