Dr. Guelff understands that retention is the final and most important phase of your orthodontic treatment. The retainer holds your teeth in their proper position.

The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:

Removable Retainers

Once your braces are removed, you will receive retainers to stabilize the orthodontic 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 may result in undesirable movement of the teeth, which could necessitate re-treatment. Remember this: “Shift happens…wear your retainer!”

How retainers are worn

Because teeth will continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear their retainers indefinitely. A patient should wear his or her retainers 22 hours a day for one full year following the removal of braces.

After approximately one year, the patient can wear the retainer just at night. Dr. Guelff will continue to see you every six to twelve months to make sure your retainer is fitting properly. Wearing your retainer is a lifetime event. Only wear your retainer for as long as you want to keep your teeth straight.

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, clothes dryer, 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 contract 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 so they may be replaced.

Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)

This wire should stay on for an indefinite period of time. If your family dentist says you are not keeping it clean and it is beginning to cause gum or bone problems, Dr. Guelff would be pleased to remove the wire and replace it with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr. Guelff prescribes.