Congratulations on nearing the end of your orthodontic treatment! Next you are entering the Retention Phase, which is just as important as the active phase of your treatment.
To better serve our patients, we offer a few retainer choices. Before deciding on which option you prefer, we would like you to know some basic information about retention in general, as well as the different types of retainers we offer here at Veil & Wild Orthodontics.
How Long Do I Have To Wear My Retainers?
Retention is an indefinite phase that will require long-term care and responsibility by the patient. The mouth is very dynamic and is constantly functioning. Studies have shown that teeth continue to shift throughout life, whether a person has had braces or not. However, proper retainer wear will minimize any major shifting that occurs after braces or Invisalign. We usually recommend full-time wear of retainers for 4-6 months after active treatment, followed by wearing the retainer during sleeping hours for the next 2 -3 years. The wear may diminish to every other night then every third night. The important factor is to wear the retainers as often as is required to keep retainers fitting. THIS MEANS FOREVER! If the retainers get tighter the teeth are shifting, and they must therefore be worn more often.
How Often Do I Need To Come Back For Retainer Checks? Our original treatment fee includes two years of retention follow-up visits after braces are removed. This consists of seeing the patient after 8 weeks, 4 months, and then 6 months. It is very important to keep these appointments so that proper adjustments can be made! After that period, we will dismiss the patient and they will then be placed on a “see as needed” basis.
What Are The Different Types Of Retainers? Retainers can be described as being either “fixed” (bonded to the inside of the lower front teeth). Or “removable” (can be removed by the patient to facilitate cleaning of the teeth). The lower retainer can be either fixed or removable. There are advantages of each type that should be considered before choosing which you prefer.
Clear Plastic (Essix/Invisalign)
- Not as visible
- Easier to speak while wearing
- More likely to lose and for teeth to shift.
- Need to be replaced frequently.
- More durable – lasts longer
- Adjustable by Doctor if stops fitting due to poor compliance
- Harder to speak while wearing
Fixed or Bonded Retainers – (Lower Only)
- Less likely to worry about losing/misplacing retainer
- Can wear indefinitely, as long as you can keep the teeth clean.
- More difficult to clean teeth, since requires floss threader and diligence daily.
- The retainer can still break by biting into things or can pull loose at the dentist’s office, which would require additional repairs and charges. (repairs done at no costs within 1st year of retention)
- May eventually require removal and placement of removable retainer to insure stability, at an additional charge.
What Happens If I Lose or Break My Retainer? It is very common for retainers to break at some point in the future, due to normal wear and tear. Likewise, it is common to misplace retainers. It is very important to contact our office immediately if either should occur to schedule an appointment. Please don’t wait until the teeth have shifted, because new retainers may not be enough to restore your teeth to their original alignment. There will be our usual customary charge for replacement as needed.
What Happens If I Don’t Wear My Retainer As Directed? Once teeth have moved due to failure to wear retainers as directed, BRACES will be needed to once again correct the alignment. This would involve additional expenses. Please prevent this by wearing the retainers as directed, or calling us as soon as a problem is detected.
How Do I Take Care of My Retainers? Brush with cool water. Please be careful when cleaning, as rough handling can damage the removable retainer, or loosen the bonded retainers. If damage occurs this will result in increased costs to repair or replace. Also please store in the proper container to allow for protection of the retainer(s). We are very proud of our results, and strive to maintain these as best as possible through a proper retention program. It is important to stress the importance of the patient’s responsibility to adhere to our instructions regarding checkups, wear the retainers, and care of the retainers.