Retention (wearing your retainers) is a way to keep your teeth in the correct position. A retainer is the appliance that gets the job done. A retainer fits over your teeth. Without them, your teeth will move back to where they were before you had orthodontic treatment.
Why wearing my retainer matters
Your teeth keep moving throughout your lifetime. Wearing retainers can prevent your teeth from becoming crowded or crooked again. That way, you’ll have a great-looking smile for your entire life!
What can I expect?
Wearing a retainer is easy, but it may take a few days to get used to. Swallowing and talking may seem a bit awkward at first. For a day or two, your mouth may be slightly sore. Remember: The more you wear your retainers, the sooner you’ll get used to them and the more comfortable they’ll become.
How long should I wear them?
For about 6 months, you’ll need to wear your retainers 24 hours a day, taking them out only to eat, floss or brush. Following the full-time retainer wear phase, you will need to continue wearing the retainers at bedtime for years to come, often for a lifetime. Remember: Your teeth will move even years from now. Even if you have your wisdom teeth removed, they will still relapse or move. Wearing retainers can keep that from happening and protect your investment in your beautiful smile.
How to care for my retainer
When your retainers are out of your mouth, put them in your retainer case and in a safe place. They should be kept away from pets and not be left lying around the house. Dogs are especially fond of chewing the plastic retainer material! Keep them out of the sun and off the dash of your car or they can permanently warp.
When you brush your teeth after each meal, also brush your retainers with your toothbrush and toothpaste. If this is not possible, rinse your mouth and retainer with water. Retainer cleaning products are also commercially available.
Do NOT play with retainers with your tongue or fingers (flip in/out). They will get loose. Do not try to adjust them yourself. Broken/Lost Retainer — Call as soon as possible. Repairs and replacements start at $200 per retainer. Save your money; retainers have never been broken or lost if they were in the right place (your mouth!).