photo courtesy of AAO

photo courtesy of AAO

Congratulations on completing the active part of your orthodontic treatment! The retention phase which starts now, is also very important if you are to maintain the great smile! Please understand that you, the patient, are entirely responsible for the success or failure of this part of treatment.

Follow these simple instructions to care for your retainers:

  1. Always store your retainer in the case. Never put it in your pocket, or wrap in a cloth or napkin…. This usually leads to a broken retainer or one that accidentally gets thrown away.
  2. Remove your retainer when eating.
  3. Make sure to follow Dr. Newman’s instructions for wearing your retainer both day and night.
  4. Remove retainers when brushing your teeth, and pay extra attention to the inside surfaces of your teeth that the retainer was touching.
  5. To clean the retainer, brush it gently and then rinse it under cool water. Concentrate specifically on the side of the retainer that is in contact with your gums. Failure to clean retainers well can result in damage to your gums and teeth. You may, if you wish, soak your retainer in a cleanser such as “Efferdent” or “Retainer Brite”. Do not use anything else.
  6. If you were given a Hawley retainer, it may feel like you are biting on a wire in the back. After a couple of days this feeling should go away. Initially, it may feel like there is a space between an upper retainer and the roof of your mouth. As the retainer settles over a few days this feeling will go away.
  7. Don’t flip the retainer with your tongue. This could damage the retainer and/or your teeth.
  8. Put the retainer in with your fingers; don’t bite the retainer into place – this will result in the retainer becoming distorted and it will eventually damage or break it.
  9. Use your best judgment regarding removing them for sports, swimming, singing, meetings, etc. If there is a significant risk that they will be lost or damaged if you continue to wear them while doing an activity, remove them and place in the provided case. Remember to put replace them when you are done with the activity.
  10. In some cases, the retainer or a spring aligner, is used to move your teeth. Wearing them any less than full time severely reduces their effectiveness, and the teeth will either move very slowly or not at all.
  11. If there are wires on the outsides of your teeth, they should not be used to remove the retainers. This will bend and eventually break them. Use clasps on the back teeth to remove the retainers.
  12. Your retainer is made out of acrylic, which is sensitive to heat. Do not subject the retainers to heat; they will distort and become unusable. This includes boiling them, putting them in the dishwasher, leaving them in a hot car, etc.
  13. Keep the retainers away from cats and dogs – they will chew on the retainers and break them!!
  14. Bring your retainers to each appointment for inspection and to verify proper fit.
  15. Occasionally, a piece of acrylic will chip or break. As long as the retainer is still wearable, you can continue to wear it until Dr. Newman can check it for you. If there is a sharp edge, you can use a nail file to smooth it off until any necessary repair can be performed.
  16. If there is any part of the retainer that is pinching your gums, set up an appointment with us promptly so that we can fix this for you….and bring your retainer with you.
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    retention-2
  18. It is OK to take the retainers out if you need to take them out when you are sick, just so long as it is not for an extended period of time.
  19. If your retainer is lost, damaged or no longer fits it will be necessary to repair or replace it. Please do not wait too long to contact us. Even if you have an upcoming appointment, let us know right away if your retainer will need replacement. The longer you wait to replace a retainer, the greater the risk of teeth shifting. If a retainer needs to be replaced or repaired, there will be additional fees. Please bring in your existing retainers, if you have them, even if they are damaged. If possible, we will always try to repair an existing retainer rather than have a new one made.