Patients have completed the “active” phase of treatment when their braces have been removed. The next phase begins when they receive their retainers, this is referred to as “retention”. All of our retainers are made in our in-office lab. Generally, patients are made clear “Invisalign type” retainers which we call “Essix retainers”. Depending on each patient, Dr. Holland may recommend a retainer with a metal bar, which we call a “Hawley retainer”. It is important that patients wear their retainers at least 18 hours a day (including sleeping) for the first few months after braces are removed, to prevent teeth from moving back. After an appropriate amount of time, Dr. Holland will recommend patients move to wearing retainers at night time. When your retainers start to feel tight, that’s when you should go back to wearing them more frequently.
It is particularly important that our patients continue to give the same full cooperation during the retention phase that they did while the “braces” were being worn. The bone, muscles, and teeth must now adapt to their new positions. The retainers must be worn to allow proper healing of tissues so that the teeth will settle in correctly, keeping undesirable tooth movements to a minimum.
Retainers must be cleaned daily with a toothbrush and toothpaste. They may also be soaked in any denture cleanser as needed. Retainers should never be boiled, as they will become distorted. Soaking them in Listerine after illness will destroy germs, if necessary. Retainers should always be kept in the plastic case we provide in a safe place. Dogs will chew retainers!