Retention is an important part of any braces or aligner treatment. After orthodontic treatment, your teeth will naturally want to shift back to their pre-treatment positions. Properly using a retainer will ensure that you enjoy the results of all your hard work for life.
Your retention fee is included in your braces/aligner treatment cost and includes the initial set of retainers and all follow up appointments for three years. At Toowoomba Orthodontists, we provide two great retainer options to maximise on your treatment results – clear retainers and bonded retainers.
A clear retainer is a thin, transparent plate made of plastic that looks similar to a clear aligner or mouthguard. The purpose of the retainer is to discreetly help your teeth keep their post-treatment positions. These retainers are barely noticeable during wear. You can also remove them to eat or clean your teeth.
Directly after treatment, your Specialist Orthodontist will most likely ask you to wear your clear retainer day and night until your teeth have adjusted to their new alignment. Eventually, you will be able to only wear your retainer at night when you sleep. For best results, we recommend you wear your retainer for about 12 hours a day to ensure proper tooth retention.
How to use and care for your clear retainer
- It is your responsibility to wear your retainer enough to ensure the retainer stays comfortable. If the clear retainer is excessively tight when first put in each night and does not become comfortable soon afterwards, then it should be worn MORE than 12 – 14 hours a day.
- It is important to keep your retainer out of warm or sunny places because the plastic can melt or distort. For the same reason, you should avoid drinking hot beverages while wearing your clear retainer.
- When you are not wearing your retainer, you should keep it in the provided plastic container to minimise the risk of it being lost or broken.
- To clean your clear retainer, simply brush it gently with your toothbrush & toothpaste. Do not boil, soak or vigorously brush your retainer.
- You may notice some small holes on the biting surface of your clear retainer after prolonged usage. There is no need to be concerned about these holes as long as they do not hinder you from wearing your retainer. Please contact us immediately if your retainer cracks, or if you lose it, so that we can arrange for a new retainer to be made for you. Any replacement retainers resulting from loss or damage will incur a fee.
- Clear retainers are generally worn for approximately three years until the wisdom teeth have been removed. However, many patients choose to wear their retainers indefinitely to ensure their teeth stay straight. While your teeth will become more comfortable with their new positions over time, they will always be at risk for moving back out of alignment.
The second retainer option we provide at Toowoomba Orthodontists is a bonded retainer. Bonded retainers are the wires placed behind your upper four front teeth and your lower six front teeth to keep them in the correct alignment after your orthodontic treatment. These retainers are permanently fixed to your teeth and are so small that you will likely forget they are even there after you become accustomed to them.
Caring for your bonded retainers
- Keep the area behind your upper and lower front teeth clean with your toothbrush and toothpaste and by using your Superfloss. A tartar control toothpaste (such as Colgate Total) may be useful in reducing tartar build-up in this area. Because the wire of your bonded retainer gives plaque an extra place to hide, it is particularly important to practise proper oral hygiene while wearing bonded retainers.
- You should take care when eating hard or sticky foods, which could cause your bonded retainers to come loose.
- If either retainer comes loose from your teeth, contact our office immediately to have it re-bonded.
- The fee for orthodontic treatment covers general maintenance and repairs/replacement of your bonded retainers for up to three years.
- The lower retainer will generally be left in place until wisdom teeth erupt into the jaws, or are removed. If you are able to keep the teeth and gums clean around your bonded retainers, you can choose to keep them on permanently, as your teeth will continue to move throughout your lifetime if you don’t hold them in place.
Lasting results for your forever smile
You should always follow the instructions of your treating Specialist Orthodontist in order to maintain your high-quality results. If you have any questions about clear or bonded retainers, please schedule an appointment online or reach out to our helpful staff at 1300 123 301.