The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:

Removable Retainers

Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, you will receive retainers to stabilize your dental corrections.  Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding your teeth are stabilizing for several months after your braces are removed, it is imperative that your retainers are worn as instructed.  Failure to wear your retainers may result in undesirable movement of your teeth, which could necessitate re-treatment.

How retainers are worn

Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely.  A patient should wear retainers all the time for six months to one year following the removal of their braces.

After approximately one year, you can wear your retainer just at night.  This is to prevent any unwanted tooth movment.

Dr. Kevin McCoy will see you every six to nine months to make recommendations on your wisdom teeth and an X-ray will be taken every one and a half years.

After the first year, wear your retainer at least one night per week.  This is because as you get older, the muscles that surround your teeth will get tighter and place pressure on your teeth, causing them to move or crowd.

How to care for retainers

  • Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
  • Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in your mouth.
  • Keep retainers away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
  • Clean your retainers before and after placement in your mouth.  Because the material used for retainer fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces.  Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque.  A denture cleaning solution such as Efferdent will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar.  Be sure to rinse your retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue!

Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement.  Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after your Invisalign is done or your braces are removed.  If your retainers are lost or damaged due to neglect, there will be a charge for replacement.  If your retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.

Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)

Sometimes, a wire is cemented directly to your teeth as a retainer.  This wire should stay on forever.  The only exception is if your family dentist says you are not keeping it clean and it is beginning to cause gum or bone problems.  If this should occur, please have the wire removed and replace it with a removable retainer.  The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr. McCoy prescribes.  The fixed wire will protect your teeth as you get older and your facial muscles get tighter.  Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month check ups.

Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention

  • Mouth breathing
  • Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
  • Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture or abnormal tongue posture
  • Playing a musical instruments with a reed
  • Lip sucking
  • Pen or pencil biting
  • Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
  • Severely rotated teeth

Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime.  Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.

Dental examinations and cleanings

You should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home including thorough brushing and flossing techniques.  You should see your family dentist at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.