Life After Treatment — Retainers

Retention and Retainer Wear: The Key to Long-Term Success

After all orthodontic treatment it is required that some form of retainer be used for a prescribed amount of time. Our goals were to move the teeth in the correct position and now we must find the best way to hold them there. If we did not make an effort to retain the teeth following active treatment, they would tend to move back towards their original position. Teeth have amazing memories.

Guideline for retainers:

  • Wear retainers full time until Dr. Benson says otherwise.
  • Take retainers out when eating, but always put them in your case.
  • Brush retainers like you do your teeth. Store bought cleaners work well too.
  • Dogs love them, watch out! They always smell like food and will go out of their way to get them.
  • At first speaking is difficult, practice reading out loud or call a friend. Practice makes perfect.
  • Do not boil or place in dishwasher to “sterilize”, they will melt.
  • Lost or broken retainers involve a replacement fee and new impressions. With proper care they will last for years.
  • Always bring your retainers to your check-up visits.

There are different types of retainers on the market, Dr. Benson will let you know what he thinks will be best for your case. Retainers can be removable or fixed. As time goes on, you’ll probably wear them less often. Dr. Benson will continue to monitor your retainers over several years, making sure the retainers are doing their job.

Retention is a lifetime commitment. Your teeth continue to move throughout your life. In the beginning after braces come off, you will wear a retainer 24 hours a day. Full time retainer wear is usually recommended for one year post-braces.

After that, nights only for several years. At that point putting retainers in one night a week will insure that the teeth are not moving. Remember, if the retainer doesn’t fit, it’s because your teeth are changing, not your retainer. If you are to lose or break a retainer, call our office immediately so we can get a new impression and send it to the lab. New impressions are required each time a retainer is made because they break in the process of constructing the retainer.