Retainer Care Instructions

Congratulations! You did it – you finally got your braces off. Enjoy your new Smile.

Here are a few instructions that you will need to take care of your retainers. Everyone that has their braces removed will receive retainers. There are different kinds of retainers. Please find the one that you have on the list below and read over the instructions so you will know how to take care of your retainer. If your retainer is removable, you were given a box to keep it in whenever you are not wearing it, use this box so your retainer doesn’t end up in a trash can. If you have a dog in your house, keep your retainer out of FIDO’S reach – dogs love retainers!

Upper Retainers

medical bracesThere are two kinds of upper retainers. The traditional retainer that has colored acrylic in the roof of your mouth and a wire in front of your teeth is called a Hawley retainer. This retainer is to be worn all day and all night. Take it out only to eat and brush your teeth and then put it back in. To clean this retainer you will need to brush it when you brush your teeth. Just like your teeth, your retainer may start to have a tartar buildup. You may want to soak your retainer in a denture cleaner, like Efferdent, to minimize the buildup. Since there is a metal wire on this retainer you’ll want to remove the retainer when the fizz stops, brush it good, rinse and then it is safe to place back in your mouth. (This is recommended only once a week).

The other type of upper retainer is called an ESSIX. This is a clear tray that looks like an Invisalign tray. This retainer is worn every night, unless otherwise instructed by Dr. David. To clean your retainer, take it out of your mouth, brush it inside and outside with your toothbrush and toothpaste and rinse it. If you notice a tartar buildup starting, you may clean it by using a denture cleaner, like Efferdent. Follow the instructions on the box, but remove the retainer when the fizz stops. You don’t want to ‘soak’ this retainer. Soaking it for long periods of time may cause your retainer to become brittle and break. It is not recommended to do this more than once a month.

Lower Retainers

lower retainerYour lower retainer is glued to your front 6 teeth. This retainer is permanent and will be left in for several years. The longer you leave it in, the longer your teeth will remain straight. Dr. David has had his for over 30 years. To clean this retainer, you simply brush it well. Use floss to get behind your retainer and in between teeth. If your lower retainer should come out, bring it with you to your appointment so we can glue it back in.

If you still have baby teeth, we are using a retainer that is glued to your 6 year molars and has a wire that fits behind your teeth. This retainer is used to maintain the space created by losing your baby teeth. The baby teeth in the back of your mouth are larger than the permanent teeth that will eventually take their place. We don’t want to lose that space so we place a retainer to keep that space open while your permanent teeth work their way into place. While we are waiting for your permanent teeth to come in, Dr. David will want to see you every 6-12 months to keep up with your progress.

If you have a lower retainer that is made of acrylic, with a wire in front of the teeth, this retainer is removable but should only be removed to eat and brush. Keep this retainer clean by brushing it each time you brush your teeth.

If your lower retainer is a clear plastic tray – you will only need to wear it at night, EVERY night. Keep it clean by brushing it inside and outside with your toothbrush and toothpaste.

Using Retainers to Move Teeth

clear_retainerOccasionally, Dr. David will use one of the clear plastic trays to move one or more teeth. If this is the case, you will be given special instructions to wear this tray all day and all night, take it out only to eat and brush. He may want to see you every few weeks to check progress and to make more adjustments if necessary.

* * * * It is Extremely Important * * * *

Now that your braces are off, the work is not complete. It is just as important to KEEP your teeth straight. You must keep your retainer checkup appointments and bring your retainers with you. If a tooth starts to move it is much easier to correct a small movement. If your teeth move too much, it could be necessary to go back into braces to correct the movement.

As always, if you have any questions, or think your teeth may be moving, don’t hesitate to call us and let Dr. David check you.

SO, enjoy your new smile. We have enjoyed getting to know you and your family. Even though we will only be seeing you a couple of times a year…
SMILE when you think of us!


Retainers FAQ

How Long Should I Wear My Retainer?