Retainer Care


(Examples of well fitting retainers)                                         

Patients in our practice can receive one of many different styles of retainers depending on their occlusion and the initial position of their teeth.  Younger patients are likely to receive removable retainers that allow primary teeth to be lost and can be adjusted.  Older patients typically receive a combination of removable and fixed retainers that require less adjustment.

At delivery, you or your child will be advised as to how frequently the retainer should be worn.  Most early or Phase 1 patients will wear their new retainer full time for a few months so the teeth can settle into the retainer before switching to night-time only.  Most comprehensive, or teen and adult patients are instructed to wear their retainer full time for one week before switching to night-time only.  Make sure to bring your retainer to all future appointments to check fit and durability. 

Retainers should not be worn while eating or brushing teeth.  When not in the mouth they should be kept safe in the retainer case.  Keep retainers out of the reach of pets and off coffee or side tables. 

Cleaning a retainer is simple, any scrub or nail brush will do.  Use clear liquid soap, not toothpaste or mouthwash.  We recommend cleaning daily to prevent buildup.  You can purchase fizzy cleaners like Retainer Bright and Efferdent online or at the store.  They work great!  DO NOT place your retainer in hot or boiling water to clean.  In fact, steer clear of hot places like the car. 


Clear, or Essix, style retainers may begin to develop wear marks and cracks as a result of grinding and clenching.  This is normal and does not indicate the need for a new retainer to be made.  However, once the number of holes increases and covers a large portion of the retainer it may need to be replaced.  This may indicate the need for a nightguard or alternate style retainer. 


Fixed retainers should be inspected regularly for stability and cleanliness.  They can be easily cleaned by angling the toothbrush head to scrub around the retainer every time you brush. Floss-threaders and picks can be used to gain access under the retainers as well.  There are no dietary restrictions, but treat these retainers with care.  Biting into apples, carrots, and other hard foods can bend and damage the retainer.  Once damaged call our office ASAP as the teeth can begin to move quickly!



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