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After your orthodontic treatment

Although we enjoy seeing our patients regularly at our office in La Jolla, we look forward to the day we remove the orthodontic appliance and you are able to fully enjoy your new smile. But, it’s not the end of treatment. In fact, the important part is only just beginning. Now that the braces or aligners have moved your teeth into the correct position, we want to keep them there. That’s the job of a retainer.


What is a retainer?

There are two types of retainers. Once you finish your orthodontic treatment, we’ll recommend which will be the best for you:

  • Removable retainer – this is clear plastic retainer similar to a small sports mouth guard or an Invisalign aligner. At first, it’s recommended you wear the retainer night and day, but after approximately three months, you’ll only need to wear it at night.
  • Fixed retainer – this consists of a small wire permanently attached to the back surface of your teeth. You can still eat and drink with it in, and brush and floss your teeth. No one will be able to see it, and eventually you won’t even know it’s there.

Top tips for looking after your retainer

  • Wear your retainer at all times, until your orthodontist instructs otherwise.
  • Take your retainer out when eating, keeping it in its case.
  • Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush, toothpaste and warm (not hot) water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors.
  • When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to having it over your teeth.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
  • Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
  • Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.

If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.