Retainer Instructions in Atlanta, GA
Wearing and cleaning retainers as directed by your orthodontist is the secret to keeping your teeth straight and healthy. iClear Orthodontics makes sure that all their patients are given clear instructions on how to care for their retainers. If you live in Atlanta and have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact one our offices located in Alpharetta, Roswell, and Kennesaw for further assistance.
Congratulations! You’ve reached the final phase in your orthodontic treatment. You’ve achieved your goal and now have the healthy, beautiful new smile you’ve always desired, but your job isn’t over just yet. After we remove your braces, you’ll begin the retention period of your orthodontic care. Your teeth must be retained or stabilized in place until the surrounding bone and soft tissues, gums, tongue and lips adapt to their new dental alignment. Retention is crucial following orthodontic treatment because the teeth will slowly shift back to their original position, undoing all of the time and effort you and your orthodontist put into your new smile.
You’ll be fitted with a custom designed, delicate plastic device known as a retainer. Retainers are fabricated using thin, porous materials to keep the effects on speech to a minimum. It’s important to always handle your retainer with extreme care to avoid damage. Your initial set of retainers is included in your original fee for orthodontic treatment, but you’ll incur an additional fee if you lose or break your retainers or need a replacement because it’s distorted due to improper wear.
What to Expect
In order to maintain your confident new smile, you must wear your retainers exactly as instructed by your orthodontist. The retention phase is a commitment that is solely up to you, but once you get the hang of the process, it’s a super easy commitment to uphold. At the start of the retention phase, you may experience:
- Discomfort surrounding your teeth, similar to when your braces were adjusted.
- Difficulty speaking while you adapt to wearing your retainers.
- During the first six months, unless otherwise instructed by your orthodontist, you must wear both retainers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You should only remove your retainers for eating and brushing your teeth.
- After six months, you will be allowed to wear both retainers only at night, unless otherwise instructed by your orthodontist.
- Use a fine grit emery board to smooth out rough, irritating or uncomfortable edges.
- Always take out your retainers while eating, brushing and flossing your teeth, swimming or participating in any contact sport that may damage them or force them out of your mouth.
- Always remove your retainer before chewing gum because it’ll stick to the plastic.
- Thoroughly clean your retainer using a toothbrush and toothpaste under cool water once a day to eliminate odor and plaque buildup. Sterilize them with denture cleaner, dishwashing liquid or vinegar once a week.
- Always store your retainers in their case when they aren’t in your mouth. Never leave them lying around or store them in a napkin.
- Keep your retainer away from hot water and hot surfaces, and never store them in a hot car. Excessive heat will warp your retainers, causing them to no longer fit properly.
- Never leave your retainer within the reach of pets, as they make excellent chew toys!
- You must bring your retainers to each retainer check appointment. If you lose or break them, call our office immediately.
The Hawley retainer is one of the most frequently used type of retainers among orthodontists. This removable retainer is made using heavy-duty acrylic and metal wires to keep the teeth firmly in their new position.
- Never bite your retainers into place or manipulate them with your tongue, as this will cause warping or distortion and possibly lead to breakage. Instead, place your Hawley into your mouth with your thumbs and fingers until it clicks into place.
- For the first six to 12 months of the retention phase, you must wear your Hawley 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except when eating or brushing your teeth. You can wear them only at night during the second year and a couple of nights a week during the third year and beyond.
- Remove your retainers prior to participation in all contact sports, such as boxing and football, and even non-contact sports like swimming.
- Always brush your retainers following every meal. Scrub them with liquid dish soap and cold water once a day to prevent plaque and odor buildup. NEVER use hot water to clean your retainers, as excessive heat can warp the plastic and distort the fit.
- You’ll visit your orthodontist less frequently during retention, often at six month to 12-month intervals. It is your responsibility to contact the office for an appointment if you encounter any problems with your retainers.
More orthodontists and patients are turning to clear retainers, also known as Essix retainers, as an aesthetic alternative to traditional wire retainers. Clear retainers are removable, and they can either fit the entire arch of the teeth or only clip-in from canine to canine. They can also be used to correct minor oral and dental imperfections that braces failed to resolve.
- Position your retainers only with your fingers. Never use your tongue or teeth to flip or bite them into place. Failure to properly insert your retainers could lead to warping, distortion, and even breakage.
- Clear retainers are to be worn 24 hours per day for the first two days, then about 10 to 12 hours per day for the first year. You can wear them every other night during the second year and at least one night a week during the third year and indefinitely.
- Remove clear retainers during all sporting activities, including swimming.
- Brush your teeth and retainers with cool water and toothpaste following each meal. Clean them with liquid dish soap once a day to prevent plaque buildup. You can clean clear retainers with an appliance cleaner once a week to prevent odor. Never clean clear retainers with hot water, as excessive heat can warp and distort the plastic.
- Patients should visit the orthodontist semi-annually or annually during retention, so it’s your responsibility to contact the office for an appointment if you lose, break or experience any type of problem with your retainers.
It’s important to take care of and wear your retainer as directed to ensure your smile stays straight and healthy. If you live in the Greater Atlanta area and have questions regarding on how to care for your retainer contact iClear Orthodontics today.