Once your active orthodontic treatment has been completed it is important to wear retainers to hold and support the teeth in their new positions. This allows the bone and gums to re-establish themselves, otherwise your teeth will move. Remember, teeth can and will move – this is how we got them to where they are!
For the first 6 months you will need to wear your retainers all the time. Do not change your wearing time unless instructed. Usually there will be a clear retainer for day-time and a ‘plate’ (pink coloured plate with wires) to be worn during the night. Sometimes this will be different and you need to follow the instructions we give you closely as to what to wear and when!
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.
Always bring your retainers with you to each appointment so that we can check that they are fitting correctly and occasionally they will need adjusting.
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 gentle warm water – never use hot water as this will melt the retainer! Use a cotton bud to gently clean the inside of your retainer also. Don’t use tooth paste as this may scratch your 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 will pick up the tissue and throw it away! Never just place the retainer on its own in your pocket, it will 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.
Clean your night retainer once a day also using a soft tooth brush and you can use tooth paste on this retainer. Always hold the plate by the pick 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 and very importantly, always keep it in it’s box when 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!
Bonded Retainer (wire glued behind the front teeth)
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 may also floss with a floss threader and ensure you brush well with your toothbrush behind your upper and lower front teeth. If you notice it to feel 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.