It is such a wonderful feeling to have a beautiful smile after you’ve just completed your orthodontic treatment!

One of the most critical stages of your orthodontic treatment is just starting — the retention/retainer stage.

Retention is the process of ensuring that you keep that new smile and your teeth don’t move back toward their original position. There are many different types of retainers. Some are removable, clear plastic, and some are bonded to the teeth.  Usually the dentist will recommend that you wear your retainers constantly for the first 6 months after the completion of your orthodontic treatment.  You should wear them all day, every day (with the exception of eating or brushing and flossing your teeth.)  After about 6 months, you may switch to only wearing them at night — every night, forever!

Some dentists will also recommend a lower/upper bonded wire retainer. Normal brushing and flossing is enough to keep them clean as long as you are very thorough. This type of retainer is not a removable appliance, so there is not a risk of misplacing it.

These are the two most common retainers that most dentists recommend. Your dentist can tell you which retainer is best for you. Make sure if you are using a removable retainer to always use a retainer case to store it.

Many retainers are wrapped in a napkin and accidentally discarded or even chewed by a dog. Dogs love them! A lost or damaged retainer will need to be replaced as soon as possible to ensure your teeth do not move back to their original position.

Congratulations on your new smile! Make sure you keep your teeth straight by wearing your retainers faithfully to retain that beautiful smile.

– Laura Beck, R.D.A.