Dr. Ron Wilson: Congratulations, you've made it through orthodontic treatment, and now you have a new, beautiful, healthy smile to take care of. Now, in order to keep the smile you've worked so hard to get, you have been given retainers to hold your teeth in place. Now, here's Vicky to tell you more.

Vicky: Thanks, Dr. Wilson. You know, it's important to remember that, without retainers, your teeth can and will move back. We'll let you know as to how much and how long you need to wear your retainers when you get your braces off, since every patient is different. Be sure to follow those instructions, so you're teeth won't move. The wire behind your front teeth is called a bonded retainer. Just like your braces, you still need to be very careful when biting into hard foods so this wire won't break. If it should break, be sure to call our office the next working day, because your teeth may start moving, and your retainer may need to be repaired. If the wire is poking you, you can use a small piece of wax to cover the wire until you are able to see us. You will floss under the retainer wire the same way you did your arch wire when you had braces. Gently thread the floss threader underneath the bonded retainer and pull the floss through. Then, you can slide the floss down each side of the tooth, being very careful not to pull the bonded retainer off.

The clear retainer is called the Essix retainer. It's like a shell of your teeth made of clear plastic. It's simply fits right over your teeth. You will need to keep it clean, so brush it at least once a day with cool water and your toothbrush. Just use normal toothpaste. Give it a good but gentle scrub. When the retainer is not in your mouth, keep it only in your retainer case that you were given. Do NOT wrap it in a napkin or paper towel. This is the easiest way of losing or breaking it. If you have a dog or animal at home, keep the retainer up high or in a drawer to keep it away from them, since they like to chew it like a toy. Also, don't leave your retainers in a hot car or near heat, since that can warp the retainer and cause it not to fit anymore.

The retainer with a wire across the front is called a Hawley retainer. You can wear this retainer as instructed, and take care of it the same way you do the Essix retainer. Both of these retainers will keep your teeth straight, if worn properly.

You have made an investment in your smile, and, like any investment, you want to protect it. If you should break or lose your retainers, call us the next working day to schedule an appointment to come in and have them repaired or replaced, before your teeth start to shift out of line.

Be sure to always bring your retainers with you for your appointments. We always want to check the fit, and might need to adjust them, if needed. Back to you, Dr. Wilson.

Dr. Ron Wilson: Thanks, Vicky. We know you'll do great, because you've worked so hard to achieve the smile you've always wanted. So let's keep it by following these simple instructions. Oh yeah, and don't forget to smile. You can make someone's day. Congratulations again on your new smile.

Dental Retainer Care

It's important to remember that without retainers your teeth may move back. Your orthodontist will let you know how long you will need to wear your retainers when you get your braces off.