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How Do Retainers Work?

Your braces moved your teeth into correct alignment. If you were to end your treatment now your teeth would most certainly return to their original positions. Retainers hold your teeth in their new positions while the bones stabilize. Remember that your teeth can continue to shift throughout your life so wearing your retainers should become a lifelong routine. Not wearing your retainers can prevent them from fitting and will result in the need for new retainers or possibly further treatment.

How Long Must Retainers Be Worn?

Removable retainers are worn on a full time (24/7) basis for up to one year. They can be removed for brushing, eating and contact sports. This is very critical as your teeth have just acquired their new positions and are very prone to movement. Bonded (glued-in) retainers are worn for 5-10 years then it is up to you whether you want them removed or not.

After the first year you can start to initiate a part time schedule for wearing your retainers. Start by wearing your retainers just at bedtime. If you notice that your retainers are getting tight you need to add a few more hours a day that you wear them. Remember to listen to your teeth, they will let you know if you are wearing your retainers often enough.

You have spent at least a year in braces and you don’t want to lose your new smile. Wear your retainers as often as you need to keep them fitting properly. If your retainer is not fitting it means that your teeth are shifting. In order to maintain your smile for life you should wear your retainers at least a few nights a week indefinitely. Retainers are for life.

How Do I Take Care of My Retainer?

  1. Never wrap the retainers in tissues, paper towels or napkins without the retainer case.
  2. Never put your retainers in your pocket, purse, or backpack without the retainer case.
  3. Never put your retainer where a dog can reach it. They love to chew them!!
  4. Never place your retainer in hot water, boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  5. Never leave your retainers where they can be exposed to direct sunlight or in a hot car.
  6. There will be a fee for repair or replacement of lost, damaged, or ill fitting retainers.