CONGRATULATIONS! The day you have long awaited is here -- the braces have been removed. The months of effort by you, the doctors and staff have produced a terrific new smile. We all celebrate this accomplishment with you. Thank you for your help.
A retainer RETAINS or HOLDS your teeth while the bone and gums reorganize to adapt to the new positions of the teeth. Proper wear is ESSENTIAL to keep the teeth straight. Inadequate wear will allow your teeth to shift.
Until today, your teeth have been moving through bone as the braces repositioned them. Now that the braces have been removed, your teeth are loose and will easily move back towards their original position. They have not yet been in one position long enough for new bone to form around the roots. Your retainers hold your teeth still so that new bone can form around the roots to stabilize them. This process takes from three to six months.
Retainers must be worn full-time (with the exception of eating and brushing) for the first 1-4 months depending on instructions from Dr. Schmitt. Your retention protocol is designed specifically for you and depends on how your teeth started before braces. Speaking will improve in approximately one week. Try not to become discouraged in the first few days. Eventually, Dr. Schmitt will instruct you to wear your retainers only while you sleep.
The best way to clean your retainers is to rinse them for 30 seconds per retainer in warm tap water right when they are removed. Not allowing saliva to dry on the retainer is biggest key to keeping them clean. Never use a toothbrush or toothpaste on your retainers as this will create small scratches that will cause premature wear, odor, and staining. Use Dawn Dish Soap and a washcloth or q-tip to clean.
1. These retainers are delicate and must be handled with care when out of your mouth. When not worn, the retainers must be kept in a small box to protect them from breakage. If you have lunch at school or work, place the retainers in your box and then put the box in your locker or desk. Never carry your retainers in your pocket without your case.
2. Never place your retainers in hot water. It can warp and ruin them. Avoid leaving them anywhere in which they may come in contact with extreme temperatures (hot or cold).
3. If a wire is accidentally bent, make NO attempt to adjust it yourself. Please phone for an appointment.
4. Always wear the retainers to the office for your appointments so that they may be checked.
5. Never leave your retainers off because it is loose, broken, or makes your mouth sore. Instead, call and make an appointment so that they can be repaired and/or adjusted. Remember, if they are left out and do not fit, we will have to charge you for the new ones.
6. Please put your name on the case and place your retainers in the case while eating or brushing. Never, never wrap them in a napkin and lay them on the table while you are eating. Almost all retainers are lost this way.
THE BAD NEWS
If the retainers are not worn and undesirable tooth movement occurs, retreatment will be done at the patient's expense. If the retainers are lost or broken, there will be a fee to replace or repair them.
THE GOOD NEWS
If you wear your retainers as directed, you can expect to enjoy a lifetime of smiles!