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The retention stage of your orthodontic treatment begins when we remove your braces. Your retainer is the single most important thing when it comes to keeping your teeth in position. Wearing it consistently is key.

What Is a Retainer?

A retainer is a device used to hold your teeth in position after a realignment. Upon the removal of your braces, your dentist will provide you with a temporary retainer. This is because your permanent one will take about a week to make. Your orthodontist will take an impression of your mouth so that your retainer can be custom-made for you. There are many different kinds of retainers, such as the standard Hawley, fixed retainer, and more. The exact one you receive is dependant on your unique dental situation.

How Long Do I Have to Wear My Retainer For?

We require our patients to wear their retainers for a minimum of 24 months. However, since your teeth can move at any time, it is really recommended that you wear your retainer four to seven nights per week for life. For six to nine months after having your braces removed, you will likely have to wear your retainer full time, with the exception of eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth. After that initial period, it’s usually safe to wear your retainer at night only. Your orthodontist will tell you what he recommends for your specific situation.

Tooth Movement

When your braces are first removed, they are unstable and the most vulnerable to shifting. This is especially true in the first six months. Your teeth will eventually become stable again in about six to nine months. Your retainer will keep your teeth in the desired positions until the ligament fibers attached to the roots of your teeth have reorganized and settled into their final positions.

Retainer Care

Never eat with your retainer in, and make sure to put it in its case whenever it isn’t in your mouth. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth. However, never brush your retainer with toothpaste. Instead, use plain water, and rinse it well before putting it back in your mouth. It is recommended that you disinfect your retainer at least once a week by soaking it in denture cleanser.

Parris Orthodontics

If your retainer has been damaged, or if you have any questions or concerns, please call us. If there is an after hours emergency, you can contact us via email or through our answering service.


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