Alafaya Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
A Great Dentist

Retainers: Everything you need to know

February 26, 2019
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Posted By: Dr. Gary Michaelson

Retainers are essential when it comes to making sure your teeth stay in perfect condition and alignment. Here is everything you need to know for optimal results in use and longevity of your appliance.

Why are Retainers Needed?

Teeth have a tendency to want to shift and move. Even as adults, teeth are inclined to shift forward over time.  Because of such tendencies, wearing a retainer after braces is critical for keeping the teeth in alignment and preventing the teeth from going back to pre-orthodontic treatment.

How long do I wear my retainer?

Since each orthodontic case is unique, the instructions for retainer wear after braces are as well.  A good rule of thumb is to wear your retainer for as long as you want to keep your teeth straight. This will reduce the risk of the teeth going back into the position they were in before your orthodontic treatment.

Typically, we advise that our patients wear their retainer at all times other than when eating, drinking, or brushing/flossing for the first 3-6 months of being without orthodontic treatment. After 6 months, most patients only need to wear their retainers at night.  Sometimes, after a year, patients can begin an every other night regimen.  If placing the retainer ever feels tight, going back to a more frequent wear time is advised as this is a sign that the teeth are trying to shift.

How long do retainers last?

Retainers are built strong to keep your teeth in perfect alignment. However, they can still wear down or even develop cracks after awhile. Essix retainers normally last 1-3 years with proper care. Make sure to pay special attention for any signs of wear and tear on your retainer because if it begins to lose its shape, it will lose its ability to retain your teeth!

How do I care for my retainers?

It’s important to take excellent care of your retainer as instructed by Dr. Michaelson. Make sure to clean your retainer regularly after each use and look closely for any problems with your retainer. Upon removal, the retainer may be cleaned with cold water and liquid soap or toothpaste. Use a soft toothbrush and gently brush to clean the inside of the retainer and store in a dry case.

If you begin to notice any issues or something wrong with your retainer, come in to our office so we can fit you for a new one.  We wouldn’t want you to have to undergo orthodontic treatment all over again!

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