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Once you have achieved that incredible smile and your appliances are removed, you will begin the retention phase of your treatment. Retainers hold your teeth in their corrected position so they can stabilize. It is imperative that the retainers be worn as instructed to prevent any undesired movement of the teeth.

The type of retainer we will use varies from patient to patient and depends on various factors, such as the original type of orthodontic problem, your oral hygiene, how deep your bite is and whether or not you grind your teeth.

Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely. Your retainers should be worn at all times for the first year after your braces are removed, except for eating, brushing your teeth and playing sports. Your speech will be affected for a few days and you will notice more saliva at first! After the first year, retainers need to be worn less and less over time, but never totally discontinued.

Top Ten Things to Know About Your Retainers:

  1. The safest place for your retainer is in your mouth! Whenever your retainer is not in your mouth, put it in its case.
  2. Never wrap your retainer in a napkin: it may get thrown out by accident!
  3. Avoid flipping your retainer with your tongue. This may damage your teeth and gums or break your retainer.
  4. Take your retainer out when swimming in a pool, lake or ocean. If it falls out you may not be able to find it.
  5. Keep your retainer away from dogs or cats as they love to chew on them.
  6. Avoid putting your retainer in your pocket without its case because you might bend the wires or break the acrylic…or it might accidentally go through a washing machine!
  7. Your retainer may be a permanent / fixed retainer bonded onto the back of your teeth. Be careful when eating hard foods because it may break the wire or glue. Don’t bite your nails if you have a fixed retainer.
  8. Bring your retainers to your check-up appointment. If anything happens to your retainers (i.e. it doesn't fit, it's broken, or it's lost) please contact our office as soon as possible.
  9. The first set of retainers is included in your treatment fee. Any repair, replacement of your retainer, or rebonding of your permanent / fixed retainer will be an additional charge.
  10. Clean your retainer several times each day. Gently scrub it with toothpaste using a denture brush or toothbrush. You can periodically soak your retainer in a glass of water with a retainer or denture cleansing tablet. Never boil your retainer or put it in hot water.

Types of Retainers

Traditional / Hawley Retainers:

A Hawley retainer is a removable retainer made of a combination of metal wires and acrylic. This type of retainer is custom made from impressions of your teeth. The acrylic can be personalized from countless colors and patterns. A Hawley retainer can be designed with extra wires or springs for very limited tooth movements.

Permanent / Fixed Retainers:

Dr. Mibab believes in permanent retention, especially of the lower front teeth which have the greatest tendency to relapse and become crowded. Most of our patients have a permanent retainer wire bonded to back side of their lower front teeth. Periodically we may bond a permanent retainer on the back of the upper teeth as well. Please be advised that these retainers require extra time and effort to keep clean but well worth it because they do an excellent job of keeping your teeth straight! Fixed retainers remain in place indefinitely.

Clear / Invisible Retainers:

A clear retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth. It is very similar to an Invisalign aligner, with no wires! It is made in our office from an impression of your teeth. If you grind your teeth, Dr. Mibab may recommend a clear retainer for you, especially at night. These retainers are comfortable and are barely noticeable!