How to Care for Retainers

Changes in tooth position occur over time due to growth, aging causing changes in pressure from the lips, tongue, habits such as grinding or new dental work. Teeth are not set in concrete, they are set in bone. Because the bone around your teeth is continually changing, your teeth may shift after treatment if retainers aren’t worn.  Many people wear retainers nightly for the rest of their lives. If you notice unwanted changes in your smile or bite, please contact us as an orthodontic “tune up.”

Retainers are a key part of your orthodontic treatment. Wearing your retainer after treatment is the best way to preserve your healthy smile and prevent teeth from moving out of alignment. I recommend wearing retainers full time for the first 4 weeks, then 16 hours a day for 8 weeks, 12 hours a day for the next 8 weeks and finally just at night. However, each patient’s treatment may have unique challenges that require wearing retainers for more time.

Please clean your retainer morning and night when you brush your teeth and after a meals when you are wearing them during the day. The best practice is to use a soft bristle toothbrush dedicated to your retainer. Either use only water or alcohol free mouthwash as you brush the inside and outside, and especially the deepest parts of the retainer where plaque can accumulate. Using toothpaste roughens the surface causing cloudiness and more plaque to accumulate over time.  Once a week you can soak the retainer in water with a retainer or denture cleaner but please be sure to rinse them throughly as some cleaners can upset your stomach.

When the retainers are not being worn, put them in a case. This will protect the retainer from being thrown away, stepped on or eaten by a pet.

Contact our office if your retainer is lost, broken or not fitting properly.

Baird Orthodontics Retainer Care Instructions

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