Your braces just came off and you have a new sense of freedom. You can welcome popcorn back into your life and flossing your teeth just got a whole lot easier.

If you want to ensure that you keep this feeling and don’t end up in braces again, there is one rule you must follow: WEAR YOUR RETAINERS.

Do I have to wear my retainers forever?

In short, yes. You need to wear your retainers FOREVER. Whether you’ve had traditional braces or aligners like Invisalign®, retainers are needed to keep your new smile in place.

Unfortunately, teeth are not set in stone after they have gone through orthodontic treatment. Instead, teeth are set in bone that will change over time. Our doctors can put your teeth in their proper position with orthodontic treatment, but it will be your job to keep them there after you have left our office.

We will make you a set of retainers after you finish orthodontic treatment. The doctor will specify how long you need to wear them full time, and then will likely have you switch to just wearing them while you’re sleeping.

Following the retainer guidelines, you are given is the best way to prevent the need to come back for further orthodontic treatment.

To help you remember them, make retainers part of your nightly routine. First, brush your teeth and then insert your retainers. When you take them out, be sure to store them in a case out of reach from pets (dogs love them).

In addition to removable retainers, the orthodontist may place a fixed or bonded retainer behind your teeth. If you have a bonded retainer, it is important that you focus on cleaning that area well when brushing and flossing.

Maintain Your Retainers

Retainers can last a really long time if they are taken care of properly. Use a soft toothbrush to clean your retainers daily. You can also soak your retainers with denture tablets to refresh them. Do not soak your retainers in mouthwash though, as it can damage them.

It is also important that you periodically clean your retainer case to prevent bacteria from growing.

What to do if You Lose or Break Your Retainer

If you lose, break or something destroys your retainer – don’t panic. Call our office at 920-231-4922 to get an appointment scheduled and have a new set made.

If you can’t find your retainers, it is important that you come into our office right away. We want to see you before any shifting occurs. There is a fee for a new set of retainers but having them remade will save you the hassle of going through orthodontic treatment again down the road.