Orthodontic Retainers

Keep your Smile Looking Great After Treatment!

Following your orthodontic treatment, your retainer is made customized for your teeth. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Wearing your retainer and caring for your retainer is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.

Tips for Retainer Success

  • Wear your retainers full time as instructed. Bring your retainer to all additional orthodontic appointments!
  • When first wearing retainers, you may find it difficult to speak. It will get easier with practice and time
  • When you’re not wearing retainers, ALWAYS put them in their case so they don’t get lost or broken.
  • Take out your retainer whenever you eat.
  • Keep retainers away from pets – they love to chew them!
  • Remove retainers when swimming or playing contact sports.
  • If a retainer is lost, broken or needs adjustment, call us during business hours. Don’t try to adjust them yourself. Replacements for damaged retainers are expensive!

How to Care for Orthodontic Retainers

  • Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
  • Clean before and after placement in the mouth. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque.
  • A retainer cleaning solution, such as Retainer Brite, will aid in the removal of plaque, help keep the retainer plastic clean, and remove any unpleasant aftertaste.

Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed.

Types of Retainers

  • Hawley retainers consist of wires and clasps embedded in a plastic body that covers the roof of the mouth (for the upper arch) or lies along the tongue side of the teeth (for the lower arch). The clasps fit around certain teeth to anchor the retainer in place, while the wire arches across the front of the teeth to maintain their alignment.
  • Clear retainers are made of clear plastic and fit snugly over the teeth. A clear retainer is usually more discreet than a Hawley retainer, although it may not be as durable.
  • Fixed retainers, also called bonded or permanent retainers, are permanently attached to the backside of the front teeth. This prevents the teeth from shifting out of place, and it can only be removed by your dentist.