Smiling child and adult - photo compliments of the american association of orthodontists

Smiling child and adult - photo compliments of the american association of orthodontists

About retainers...

Once all of the orthodontic work is done, Dr. Ellis will take your braces off and give you retainers.  

Without retainers, your teeth will move!!

Retainers are placed after braces to ensure that your teeth stay straight.  Dr. Ellis will recommend the type (or types) that will work best in your situation - a removable retainer, a bonded retainer or both.  She will also tell you exactly when and how long you need to wear them.  

Just like the rest of your body, your mouth will experience change over time.

Teeth aren't set rigidly in the jawbone — instead, they're held in place by a network of fibers called the periodontal ligaments. After teeth have been moved, it takes some time for the periodontal ligaments to adjust. If you want to keep that straight, new smile, it's essential to wear your retainer!

A Period of Adjustment

Most people adjust quite well to wearing a retainer.  Initially, you may find that you produce more saliva than usual.  This is a normal reaction to placing something new in the mouth. You may also find it a little harder to speak clearly, but this will improve with time and practice.  

Most patients are told to wear their removable retainer all day, every day for a limited time and then on an every night basis for the rest of your life.


Maintaining Your Retainer 

To stay fresh and germ-free, all retainers need proper cleaning.  Retainers can be brushed gently with a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste.  Denture cleaners, in powder or tablet form, as well as special retainer cleaners, can also be used to clean most removable retainers. Fixed retainers are cleaned by brushing and flossing; a floss threader or interproximal brush can also be a helpful cleaning tool when needed.

Remember to always carry — and use — a retainer case. You'd be surprised how many retainers end up folded in a napkin and accidentally discarded! Also, don't expose your retainer to excess heat by washing it in very hot water or leaving it on a heater: That can cause the retainer to warp and make it unusable. With proper care and conscientious use, a retainer can help you transition from braces to a permanent, healthy smile.


No Dogs Allowed!

Finally - keep your retainer far away from pets.  Dogs love to chew up retainers.  Don't let your retainer become an expensive dog toy!