When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 24 months.
Maxillary wrap-around retainers are your upper retainers, which are removable. You must be very careful when handling your upper retainers, as they are fragile and costly to replace. You are given a special case for your retainer; please make sure you keep them in this case when not wearing it!
Your retainers should be worn at all times with the exception of eating and brushing your teeth. Your retainer should also be removed when participating in sports that require a mouthguard or while swimming. After 12 months of full-time wear, we may revise your retention treatment, allowing the retainer to strictly be worn at night.
How long do I need to wear my retainers?
While it may vary from patient to patient, the normal period for full-time retainer wear lasts for about two years. During this time, we will schedule regular appointments every 3-6 months to give us an opportunity to monitor your progress and address any questions or concerns you have. After this full period of full-time retainer wear, we will often recommend part-time retainer wear indefinitely, so as to ensure your smile is as straight and beautiful as the day your braces came off!
Can teeth move after treatment?
Absolutely! The forces that our office took advantage of to move your teeth into proper position are the same ones that can shift your teeth into an improper position without care and oversight. Tooth position typically changes in patients over time, regardless of orthodontic treatment, and minor changes to your retainer may be necessary in the future, but our ultimate goal is to keep your smile beautiful and functional for the rest of your life.
Losing or breaking your retainers not only potentially jeopardizes your new smile, it also adds expense for retainer repair or replacement! Therefore, it is important that you treat your retainer with as much care as possible. Brush your retainer with cool (not hot!) water and toothpaste. You may also need to soak it occasionally in dental cleanser to keep it smelling and tasting fresh. And if your retainer is not in your mouth, it should be in its case! Retainers kept in pockets, placed on tables or tucked into napkins are frequently broken or accidentally thrown away. Be sure to keep your retainers away from dogs or other pets, as they will often try to chew on them. If you break or lose your retainer, please contact our office right away so that we can repair or replace it for you as soon as possible.
Remember – retainers are important to keep your new smile forever, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far!