You have successfully completed your Braces journey and are now moving on to the maintenance phase!
Types of retainers you might get:
Permanent (fixed, bonded) retainers
Fixed wires are bonded to the back of your teeth to hide them.
They are with you 24/7! You will never forget, misplace, or outgrow them.
However, the composite bonding material may break due to wear and trauma and collect more calculus, which will need our dentists to address.
How to clean permanent retainers?
Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day.
You may use a superfloss or interdental brush to clean underneath the wire.
Patients with a fixed lingual retainer may also use a Waterpik Water Flosser as an easier and faster alternative to flossing. It is to be done in addition to regular brushing to ensure you are stay plaque free!
How often should I wear my Retainers?
Teeth are biological structures sitting in gums and bones. It is natural for teeth to move slightly with time. Retainers are very important to avoid/minimize Teeth Relapse (teeth shifting back towards their original position). Retainers are maintainers and should be worn to sleep for lifelong maintenance.
Research has shown that relapse of tooth positions is the most intense in the 1st year after completing braces/ Invisalign treatment. Retainer wear is critical for stabilizing treatment results.
If you have forgotten to wear your retainers for a few days, the retainers will feel tight when you next put them on.
This means that teeth have moved slightly (RELAPSE) and the retainers are trying to squeeze them straight. It is a warning sign. Do not ignore this.
Wear the retainers FULL TIME (except during eating and brushing teeth) for the next 1 month to act like ‘mini Invisalign’. The retainers must be fully seated to help move teeth back into place.
In general, for fixed braces cases:
First 6 months Full-time wear of 20 hrs. DAILY
Next 6 months 10 to 12 hours DAILY
After that, alternate nights to sleep for as long as you want to maintain straight teeth.
In general, forInvisaligncases:
First 6 months: Wear 12-14 hours DAILY
The minimum is from after dinner to the next morning.
After that, aim for alternate nights of retainer wear for as long as you want to maintain straight teeth.
Retainers are NOT aligners. Please DO NOT throw retainers away after 1 week of wear (yup, it has happened before!).
Retainer Care Tips
Coffee, tea, curry, carrot juice, red wine etc WILL stain retainers. Please only drink plain water when wearing your retainers.
No super-hot drinks with retainers on to avoid distorting them.
Do not let your retainers get damaged or bent (keep it in the case when not in the mouth).
Do not ‘bite’ on retainers, it will crack!
Do not play with the retainers using your tongue.
WRAPPING RETAINERS IN TISSUE PAPER is the fastest way to lose retainers!
If retainers are cracked or broken, please do not fix it yourself.
Keep retainers away from pets. Dogs love to chew retainers!
How to clean my removable retainers?
During cleaning, only hold one ‘leg’ of the retainer (as shown in the picture above).
Patients who hold retainers in the palm of their hand during cleaning, tend to crush their retainers accidentally.
Do not soak or wash your retainers with Dettol or other household cleaning products. These products are poisonous and may change retainer properties and stain them.
Disinfect your retainers with Retainer Brite tablets three times a week.
DO NOT soak retainers in warm water or leave them in the sun!
Look out for cracks and traces of wear on your retainers, it may indicate a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth. You might need a firmer and more durable retainer to withstand your grinding tendencies. If you do have this para-functional habit, it is recommended to consider alternative Retainers that can withstand the heavy grinding forces. Please speak to any member of our #SmileTeam.
What happens during a Retainer Review Appointment?
Retainers MUST be brought for every retainer appointment to allow us to check on the following:
1) Any teeth relapse (For small changes, we are able to adjust the retainers to straighten teeth!)
2) Retainer condition and cleanliness (We are able to tighten retainers and send retainers for a deep ultra-sonic clean in our lab)
3) Retainer compliance (We can assess if it’s time to scale down the hours of retainer wear)
4) Dental hygiene (Any dental decay? Gum disease? Bad breath?)
5) Problems in the eruption of wisdom teeth (when applicable)
It was certainly our pleasure to complete your braces journey, we are going to miss you!