Orthodontic Retainers

Straight Smiles - RetainersThe benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:

Removable Retainers

Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is imperative that the retainers are worn as instructed. Failure to wear the retainers as prescribed by Dr. Pasquale may result in undesirable teeth shifting.

How retainers are worn

Because teeth can continue to shift throughout life, research shows that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely.  A patient should wear retainers full-time for 3 to 6 months following the removal of braces.

After approximately three to six months, the patient can then wear the retainer just at night. This is to preserve the alignment of your teeth and counteract nature’s tendency to make teeth get more crooked with time. Dr. Pasquale will see you every six to nine months after your braces come off to monitor the fitting of the retainers and evaluate your wisdom teeth if present.

How to care for retainers

  • Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
  • Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth.
  • Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
  • Clean before and after placement in the mouth. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.

Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment  includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed. If the retainers are lost or damaged due to neglect, there will be a charge for replacement. If the retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.

Bonded Retainers (“Permanent” retainer)

Occasionally, an ultra thin retainer wire is bonded on the back of the teeth after the braces are removed.  This bonded retainer wire serves to to hold the teeth straight and should remain on long term.  The only exception is if your family dentist says you are not keeping it clean enough and suggests replacing it with a removable retainer. The bonded retainer wire will hold the alignment of the teeth as the patient gets older and the facial muscles mature.  Please have this bonded wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month check ups.

Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention

  • Mouth breathing
  • Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
  • Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture or abnormal tongue posture
  • Playing a musical instruments with a reed
  • Lip sucking
  • Pen or pencil biting
  • Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
  • Severely rotated teeth

Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.

Dental examinations and cleanings

The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, to include thorough brushing and flossing techniques. His or her family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.