WHY do I need to wear a retainer?

Wearing retainers is one of the most important phases of your orthodontic treatment. Together, we have worked hard to get your teeth to their best possible position. However, when braces are removed, the teeth have a tendency to want to return to their original positions. To prevent this from happening and to allow the teeth to adapt to their new positions, retainers must be worn faithfully.

In your late teens and early twenties, you will likely start getting your third and final set of molars in, which are called wisdom teeth. Although sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset when healthy and properly aligned, most often, they are misaligned and cause the teeth to shift out of place. By wearing your retainer faithfully you can help prevent this from happening until your wisdom teeth are removed (if necessary). Be sure to visit your dentist regularly. He or she may take periodic X-Rays to see where your wisdom teeth are to plan for early removal. If you notice signs that your wisdom teeth may be erupting, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately.

Types of Retainers

The doctor will determine which type of retainer is the best and most appropriate for you.

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How Long Should I Wear My Retainer?

When you get your braces off, we create retainers for you to minimize the shifting that your teeth will naturally do as they settle into their new positions. This is the time they are most prone to shifting. We’ve worked hard to get here… Make sure you wear your retainers to prevent teeth from shifting back to their original positions! Retainers are forever…wear them as directed, every single day! As the years pass, you may wear them less and less but NEVER throw them away. You only have to wear your retainers as long as you want to keep your teeth straight. A certain period of retainer check-ups is included in your original treatment. Please bring your retainers to every appointment. Minor tooth movement occurs in every mouth throughout life, whether or not there has been prior orthodontic treatment. The goal of the retainer after braces is to minimize shifting. For more tips and helpful information regarding your retainer, please click here!

For Phase I patients, it is very important to wear your retainers every single day as directed. The goal of Phase I retainers is to help hold your teeth so taht the new ones can grow in as easily as possible. The front teeth may shift as this happens and that’s okay. These types of retainers are temporary. You will eventually outgrow them as you lose more baby teeth, more adult teeth come in and the jaw grows. Dont’ stop wearing your retainers until we inform you it is time to do so. The retainers may seem tight from time to time when baby or primary teeth get loose. Please ensure you wiggle those teeth our promptly so that the retainers can fit better. For more information and helpful tips for Phase I retainers, please click here!

Retainer Care

When the retainers are removed in the morning, please brush them carefully with your toothbrush, toothpaste or soap as directed to remove all the plaque. If plaque deposits build up on your retainer, “Efferdent” makes a retainer cleaner, which is available in most stores. During the day, please put the retainers in the case provided (there is no need to keep them moist).

If you have a dog, take every precaution to KEEP THE RETAINERS AWAY FROM YOUR DOG (even when they are in their case). Dogs love the smell and will seek them out and chew them to pieces. Please do not put the retainers or retainer case in direct sunlight or in boiling water to clean them.

Retainer Visits?

The short appointments needed to check your retainers and your teeth in the future are important. PLEASE BRING YOUR RETAINERS TO ALL OF THESE APPOINTMENTS. Be sure to visit your dentist soon for a check-up.

If your retainers do not fit correctly or you are unable to wear them, please call the office immediately. Not wearing your retainer for even a short period of time may require a new retainer or possibly braces again at an additional cost.

How To Keep Your Smile Wow! For Years To Come

Phase I Retention

Congratulations! You've worked so hard, it's time to take a break from braces!

Now that your first phase of treatment is over and your teeth are in a good position for your permanent teeth to emerge, you can eat all the hard, crunchy and stick foods you've been missing.


It's time to celebrate! Treat yourself to something yummy and crunchy.

We know that you worked hard to achieve your new smile, now it's time to learn more about your orthodontic treatment aftercare!


The goal of your orthodontic treatment has been to accomplish the greatest possible improvement to your teeth permitted by your heredity and dental environment. There is no such thing as a perfect set of teeth. Minor tooth movement occurs in every mouth throughout life, whether or not there has been prior orthodontic treatment. The most common area for change is in the lower front teeth. These changes are normal and may be greatly minimized or possibly eliminated by continued retainer wear on a long term basis. Remember, wear them in your mouth, not in your pocket. Retainers work when you follow our instructions.