Understanding Orthodontic Retainers
  • June 19, 2017, 1:55 p.m.
  • orthodontics, retainers, invisalign

Understanding Orthodontic Retainers

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Why do I need to wear retainers?

You will need to wear retainers after your orthodontic treatment is completed to ensure that any movement is minimised as much as possible.  Retainers also help to stabilise your teeth in their new position and it is important to follow all of your orthodontist’s instructions carefully.

How often do I need to wear the retainer plates?

You will need to wear your retainers 24/7. Only remove your retainers for eating, brushing or when playing contact sports. Retainers are usually worn full-time for approximately 6 months, after which you should only need to wear them at bedtime. After this they may be worn part-time but you must always wear your retainers according to your orthodontists’ instructions, as everyone is slightly different.  It is vital to wear your retainers!  Without use, your teeth will most definitely move out of their desired position.

They feel strange, how long will this last?

Your retainers will look, taste and feel brand new. Some people find that their speech may also be affected. This can last for a couple of days until you wear them in and they become comfortable. Talk, smile and even sing as much as possible, your mouth and tongue will soon adapt to your retainers. If you continue to experience difficulty, discuss this with your orthodontist at your first check appointment.

When I remove the retainers, where should I put them?

Always keep your retainers in the case provided.  Never put the retainers in your pocket, your bag, and definitely do not wrap them in tissues or serviettes as they will be thrown out! There is a cost to replace lost or damaged retainers so please look after them.

I have a fixed retainer. How long will this stay on the teeth?

Sometimes your orthodontist will use a fixed retainer such as a metal bar behind your lower front teeth.  A fixed retainer stays on the teeth indefinitely. If it ever comes off or is damaged a new retainer is strongly recommended. As long as you maintain good oral hygiene, a fixed retainer will not affect the health of your teeth.

 How do I clean retainers?

Your retainers can be cleaned when you brush your teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste.  Soaking the retainers is not necessary if you brush them daily with your toothbrush.  Soaking can also damage retainers and is not recommended.  

Any do’s and don’ts with my retainers?

Don’t play with the retainers in your mouth, don’t eat or bite anything hard, sticky or chewy as this may damage or break the wires.

Should I visit my dentist now?

We recommend that you see your general dentist around every six months to give you a good check-up and clean your teeth.  This is a habit you should continue right through your life.  

What about my wisdom teeth?

Your final x-rays will give an indication of the presence or otherwise of your wisdom teeth. Each patient is individual, and your orthodontist will advise as to your options, and will generally refer you back to your dentist or possibly an oral surgeon if they need removing.


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