Post Orthodontic Care (Retainers)
Grants Pass, OR
Traditional braces and Invisalign can help you get a straight and even smile. However, your treatment isn’t yet complete once these orthodontic devices are removed. You will now move on to the next phase: retention.
What is Retention?
Retention is an important follow-up stage after the active orthodontic phase of your treatment. This is meant to keep your newly aligned teeth in the correct position and involves wearing a retainer. At Robinson Orthodontics, Dr. Jon Robinson and will make custom retainers for you, will provide you information about how to wear them, and how to take care of them.
Why are Retainers Needed?
You need retainers because your teeth may go back to their old position if there is nothing to prevent them from doing so. The issue is that your teeth are not fixed rigidly into your jawbone. Instead, they are held by periodontal ligaments, which take a few months to adjust to the new position of your teeth and fix them in place. Right after you have completed your traditional braces or Invisalign treatment, these periodontal ligaments will want to drag your teeth back into their old position.
If you want to keep your brand new smile and not waste all of your hard work, time, and money, it is crucial that you wear retainers.
Once your braces or Invisalign trays are removed, we will take careful impressions of your teeth and create custom retainers for them. This will give you a perfect fit and retain your teeth in the right position.
How Many Hours Should You Wear Retainers?
How many hours you wear your retainers depends on the kind of retainers you are prescribed. If you have bonded retainers that are permanently affixed to the back of your teeth, you will be wearing them 24 hours a day. However, if you have a removable retainer, you will need to wear them according to our instructions.
Typically, though, you will need to wear your retainers full time for the first four to six months and take them out only during meal times or when you are cleaning them. Once this time period has passed, depending on the condition of your teeth, we will allow you to cut back on wearing these retainers only at night. Keep in mind though that you will need to wear these retainers indefinitely.
If you do not wear your retainers, your teeth may shift back to their old position over time. This could mean you would need to go through an expensive orthodontic treatment again a few years into the future.
If you skip wearing your retainers for a few weeks, your teeth may shift away from their new position and your retainer may no longer fit.
That is why we strongly recommend that you wear your retainers according to our instructions.
How Should You Clean Your Retainers?
Keeping your retainers clean protects your teeth from bacterial infection and extends the life of your retainers.
Cleaning Bonded Retainers
In case of bonded retainers, you will need to get them cleaned during your routine dental appointment. Since these retainers cannot be removed, you will be required to floss your retainers and the front of your teeth with a dental threader. This may require some practice but it is easy to learn.
You should also angle your toothbrush in every direction to make sure you get rid of any plaque around your retainer.
Cleaning Removable Retainers
To clean your removable retainers, you can remove the device out of your mouth and clean it with lukewarm water and a gentle, non-abrasive toothbrush. You may also get special soaking products to soak your retainers in.
Always use mild toothpaste to clean your retainers as you do not want to damage them. We can recommend you the right products for taking care of your retainers.
If food debris gets trapped or hardens on your retainer, use a cotton swab dipped in water to gently scrub it out. Never boil your retainer in water, wash it with hot water, or put it into a dishwasher.
How Long Do Retainers Last?
Your retainers will need to be replaced at some point in time. However, they can last you for several years if you take good care of them. This includes:
||Carefully storing your removable retainers in their cases when they are not in your mouth.
||Keeping them away from hot water and heat sources.
||Keeping them away from children and pets.
||Not keeping them in your pocket, bag, or purse without the case.
What Happens If Your Retainer is Damaged?
If your retainer is damaged or loses its shape, you should inform us about the situation as quickly as possible so that we can make a replacement for you before your teeth start to shift.
Although a lifelong commitment to retainers may appear daunting, it is important to keep your teeth straight. Continue to visit us for your regular dental checkups and bring your retainers with you. We will check them for any damage and make sure they continue to do their job well.
To schedule an appointment with us, call (541) 441-8288 today.