Retainers are used after your active orthodontic treatment is complete in order to hold and support the teeth in their new positions. Using a retainer allows the bone and gums to re-establish themselves and prevents the teeth moving. Remember, teeth can and will move – this is how we got them to where they are!
Ensure that you always bring your retainers with you to each appointment so that we can check their fit and adjust them if necessary.
How often do I have to wear my retainer?
For the first 6 months you will need to wear your retainers all the time. Do not change your wearing time unless instructed. Usually you will be given a clear retainer for day-time and a ‘plate’ (pink coloured appliance with wires) to be worn during the night. Your individual treatment may vary from this, it is important to follow the instructions we give you closely as to what to wear and when!
Caring for your retainer(s):
Clear Retainer (for Daytime)
Take your retainer out when eating, having hot drinks, swimming, playing sport and brushing your teeth. When wearing your retainer do not ‘flick’ it in and out with your tongue as this could damage or break it.
Clean it every day using a soft tooth brush, cotton buds and some plain soap and cold or warm water – never use hot water as this will distort the retainer! Use a cotton bud to gently clean the inside of your retainer. Don’t use tooth paste as this may scratch your clear retainer.
When you take your retainer out to eat always place it in the box we give you. Never wrap it in a tissue and leave it on the table – someone may pick up the tissue and throw it away! Never just place the retainer on its own in your pocket, it may break or be sat on!
It is a good idea to soak your retainer for 10-15 minutes a few times a week in Retainer Brite (or any other denture cleaning product – such as Polident or Steradent) to help keep it clean and fresh.
Plate (for Night time)
Clean your night retainer once a day using a soft tooth brush. You may use tooth paste on this retainer. Always hold the plate by the pink plastic, never the wire as it may bend. You can also soak your retainer in a cleaning product in the same way as your day retainer. Very importantly, always keep it in its box when it’s not being worn, as it can get lost, sat on, stepped on, chewed up by the dog, cat, etc. – and you can take our word for it – these things happen all the time! If you don’t have time to brush it in the morning after use, leave it in a cup of cater and brush it later. Otherwise tartar forms.
Bonded Retainer (wire glued behind the front teeth)
Your upper and lower front teeth may also be supported by a ‘bonded retainer’ – wire glued to the back of the teeth. This wire typically remains in place for several years after treatment and is very effective and important.
It is very important to clean every day using a soft tooth brush and floss – you will be shown by one of our hygienists how to floss properly around the bonded retainer. You may also use a very small blue brush (called an ‘Inter-brush’) to clean between the teeth by sliding the brush gently in and out at gum level. You must also floss normally. Angle the floss towards the gum at the front. You can also use a floss threader. Ensure you brush well with your toothbrush behind your upper and lower front teeth. If you notice your bonded retainer feels different or loose in any way, let us know immediately as it can usually be repaired quite simply – don’t leave it as it will become more of a problem later.