Congratulations! Now that your braces have been removed you can really enjoy the benefits of straight teeth. Although the active phase of your treatment is complete it is important to realize that you will now begin the retention phase of treatment. This means that you will need to wear the retainers that have been provided and report regularly to our office for retention checks. Remember to always bring your retainers when you visit the office.
The importance of wearing retainers cannot be over emphasized. The reason that retainers are so important is because without them, your teeth will have a tendency to move back to the position they were in before your braces were placed. When braces are removed the tissues that surround your teeth (gums and bone) need to “remodel” to accommodate the new position of your teeth. This remodeling process can take a long time so it is extremely important to wear the retainers as directed. The retainers maintain your teeth in their ideal alignment.
The doctor will prescribe a specific schedule for wearing your retainers for the first few months after the braces are removed. After a few months have passed most patients will be asked to wear retainers during sleep, most nights of the week, for life.
Special care should be taken to prevent damage to your retainers. Keep them away from extreme temperatures, especially heat, which can warp them. Laundry machines, direct sunlight, and boiling water can easily ruin retainers. Never clean them with solvents such as alcohol or acetone. They can be cleaned sufficiently with daily brushing. Special tablets can also be used for soaking the retainers. A case is provided for storage when not in use, and they should be hidden from pets and young children. Do not place them on food trays or under napkins as they may be easily forgotten and thrown away. As with anything, your retainers will not last forever and eventually will need to be replaced but proper care should keep them functional for a long time.
Finally, remember that if you should have any problems such as a lost retainer, broken retainer, poorly fitting retainer or teeth that appear to have moved, do not wait until your next scheduled appointment. Call the office and schedule an appointment so that the problem can be corrected immediately. Retainer problems are most easily resolved when treated promptly.