Retainers & Aftercare

Keeping Your Smile Beautiful After Orthodontic Treatment


Wearing A Retainer

You will get a retainer when your braces come off to hold your teeth in their new place. Wear it exactly as directed. This may be everyday at first, then a few nights a week. If you don’t wear it, your teeth may start to go back to where they were. Then you need braces again.


Whenever you take your retainer out, rinse it and put it in its case. If you wrap it in a tissue or napkin, it may end up in the garbage by mistake!


Brush your retainer with toothpaste each time you brush your teeth. Then rinse it in cold water. Retainers are plastic. That means they can melt. Do not leave your retainer in a warm place.


Call us right away if you lose or break your retainer.


Why Do I Have to Wear Retainers?

Retainers are used for two reasons:

 – To allow bone to rebuild after your teeth have moved.
 – To keep individual teeth from drifting.


In other words, retainers preserve and stabilize the results you and your orthodontist achieved through your orthodontic treatment.


There are many types and designs of both upper and lower retainers. We typically prescribe custom retainers that are best for you. But retainers can only do their jobs if you wear them as instructed.


How Long Do I Have To Wear Retainers?

We will recommend how long to continue wearing your retainers depending on the original malocclusion whether they are removable (the kind you put in and take out) or fixed (bonded behind your teeth). Wearing your retainers as prescribed is the best way to keep your teeth from moving after your orthodontic treatment.


There are many reasons teeth may move following orthodontic treatment. Teeth are not set in concrete, they are in bone. And because bone around your teeth is continually changing (breaking down and rebuilding), your teeth may shift after your braces are removed. By wearing your retainers, your teeth are more likely to remain where they have been placed.


Why Do Some Teeth Shift?

The small changes that occur after braces are removed are due to a “settling in” as you use your teeth for biting and chewing. The more serious and undesirable changes may be traced to genetics or later-than-normal growth, which is unpredictable. Movement is most common in lower front teeth. This is particularly true if the teeth were extremely crowded prior to treatment.


Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon. The best way to keep teeth from shifting is to wear your retainers as prescribed. If you notice movement after your braces are removed, please contact us.


I had orthodontic treatment as a teen, and now as an adult my teeth are out of place. What can I do?

If you notice an unwanted change in your smile or bite, contact your orthodontist for information. An orthodontic “tune up” may be necessary to regain proper alignment.


Will Wisdom Teeth Cause Teeth to Shift?

Research suggests that wisdom teeth do not necessarily cause teeth to shift. In most cases, removal of wisdom teeth is done for general dental health reason rather than for orthodontic health. Your family dentist or your orthodontist can give you guidance regarding removal of wisdom teeth.


Important Facts to Remember

  • Keeping your teeth straight is now your responsibility
  • Do not be alarmed if small changes occur
  • Wearing your retainer long-term as prescribed by your orthodontist is the best way to preserve the health, beautiful smile created by your orthodontic treatment.
  • See your family dentist regularly
  • Contact your orthodontist any time you need advice or have concern
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