Retainers

The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:

Removable Retainers

Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is imperative that the retainers are worn as instructed. Failure to wear the retainers may result in undesirable movement of the teeth, which could necessitate re-treatment.

How retainers are worn

Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely.  Following the removal of braces, our patients will wear retainers as directed by Dr. Meharg.

After a limited period of full time wear, the patient can wear the retainer just at night. This is to allow the wisdom teeth to develop without ruining the patient’s beautiful smile. Dr. Meharg will see you periodically to make recommendations on the wisdom teeth and ongoing retention.

Once the wisdom teeth have been decided on, wear your retainer at least one night per week. This is because, as you get older, the muscles that surround your teeth will get tighter and place pressure on your teeth, causing them to move or crowd.

How to care for retainers

  • Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
  • Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth.
  • Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
  • Clean before and after placement in the mouth. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.

Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed. If the retainers are lost or damaged due to neglect, there will be a charge for replacement. If the retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.

Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)

Dr. Meharg generally doesn’t used fixed retainers due to the difficulty in cleaning the teeth with them and the fact they will often break or come loose.  If you do have a fixed retainer that breaks, please have the wire removed and replace it with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr. Meharg prescribes.

Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention

  • Mouth breathing
  • Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
  • Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture or abnormal tongue posture
  • Playing a musical instruments with a reed
  • Lip sucking
  • Pen or pencil biting
  • Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
  • Severely rotated teeth

Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.

Dental examinations and cleanings

The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, to include thorough brushing and flossing techniques. His or her family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.