Retention is the most important part of treatment. The retainers are made to hold the teeth in position after the braces are removed. Throughout or lives our teeth continue to shift and settle. By wearing the retainers as directed, the teeth will settle into a proper position, and will be prevented from shifting or rotating.
The retainers should be worn full time for one year and then at bedtime for one more year. After this they should be tried on daily and worn as needed. At that point you will become your own orthodontist; you will know when you need to wear them.
Having to replace lost or broken retainers is expensive, so be sure to keep the retainers in their case when they are not being worn, this will prevent them from being lost or distorted. Never wrap in a napkin or keep them in your pocket, the case is the only place they should be if they are not being worn. Also keep them away from animals, as they are attracted to the smell and will chew them.
How to clean your retainers
The retainers should be cleaned with a toothbrush and toothpaste each time you brush your teeth, and can be soaked in pure white vinegar for one hour weekly to give them a thorough cleaning. Never soak in mouthwash or denture cleaner, as this can weaken the wires and can cause them to break. Note: In order to be sure that the retainers do not develop a foul smell, be sure to rinse or brush them before placing them in the case.
Adapting to your new retainers
For the first little while they will feel a little different to speak and to swallow, you may also find that there is more saliva in the mouth, these are all normal things that just require a little time to get used to.
Please bring your retainers with you at each visit so that they can be adjusted if needed. Remember, if you want your teeth to stay exactly straight forever, you will need to wear retainers forever!