About Retainers

Here at Bedont Orthodontics, our team looks at orthodontics as an investment in your smile. We want to help you protect that investment! The fact is, your teeth will move throughout your whole life whether you had braces or not. Now that we have your teeth in the position that we want them, it is important to wear your retainer as prescribed to insure that your investment is protected.

Most patients in our practice will receive clear retainers and will be instructed to wear them all the time for the first month, except when eating or brushing your teeth. The retainer should also be removed when participating in sports that require a mouthguard or while swimming. Whenever you take out your retainers, please place them in the case provided and place it in your pocket.

After the first month, we will usually have you go to night-time wear of your retainers. You will need to wear your retainer for as long as it takes for your teeth to settle into a better occlusion (bite) and for your bones, gums and muscles to stabilize and adapt to your new dental arrangement. While we strive to obtain stable orthodontic results, there are a small percentage of patients that will experience relapse after retainer use is discontinued, even after several years of prescribed wear. Therefore, we recommend indefinite night-time wear of your retainers to ensure stability of alignment in all teeth.

If your retainer breaks, stop wearing it and call the office as soon as possible so that your retainer can be repaired or replaced. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you have put in so far.

Things to Remember About Your Removable Retainer

  • Don't fold it in your napkin or leave it on the table at a restaurant. Garbage cans don't make happy hunting grounds. A good adage is, "If you place your retainer on your lunch tray, it will likely get thrown away!"
  • Don't put your retainer in your pocket unless it is in its case. You might sit on it and break it. OUCH!
  • Take your retainer out when swimming. If it falls out, you may not be able to find it.
  • Animals and younger children love to play with it. Please make sure your retainer is either in your mouth or in its case at all times.
  • You may have a lower bonded retainer. It is not considered permanent and can be broken or detached from your teeth if you are not careful with it.
  • 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 call us ASAP. If your lower bonded retainer wire breaks, becomes loose, or comes out, keep it and bring it to your next appointment for rebonding.
  • The first two sets of retainers are included in your treatment fee. Any repair to or replacement of your retainer, or rebonding of your lower retainer will result in an additional charge.
  • Retainer replacement is expensive... with proper care they will last for years!
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
  • Keep them clean! Be sure to brush your teeth without your retainers in. Brush your retainer with a toothbrush using toothpaste or water to keep them clean.

Bonded Retainers

We also offer a bonded retainer in addition to the clear removable retainers. Also called a fixed or permanent retainer, a bonded retainer is a thin wire attached with dental glue to the back of the teeth in the same way the braces are attached to the front of the teeth. Lower bonded retainers are more frequently used than upper bonded retainers due to problems with bite clearance, because the bottom teeth may hit the upper retainer when you bite down. Even if you choose to have a bonded retainer placed, you still need to wear the removable retainers as directed to keep the other teeth from moving.

There are pros and cons to having a bonded retainer.

Pros

  • Bonded retainers help keep the lower front teeth straight. These teeth are the most common teeth to shift and become more crowded throughout life.
  • Bonded retainers are not visible when you smile or speak and they do not impair your speech.
  • Unlike removable retainers, they are difficult to lose, and you will never forget to wear them.

Cons

  • Bonded retainers do require special cleaning because plaque and tartar buildup is more common around a retainer. If proper cleaning is not done, cavities or gum disease may occur.
  • Care must be taken when eating certain foods. It is possible that the retainer can come off one or more teeth without you knowing, which can allow the teeth to shift.
  • A bonded retainer require periodic monitoring by your general dentist or our office, and at some point it may require repair.