A retainer has been custom made to fit your teeth. As these are custom made, the fit of the retainers may be snug or tight. However, please do not be concerned if your retainer is not tight. Your retainers are designed to last 18 to 24 months and will do so if they are looked after properly.
How to place and remove your retainers
It is very important to handle your retainers carefully when putting them in and taking them out, as these are the times when they are most likely to be damaged.
You should only seat your retainers in the mouth using your fingers. To avoid damage, never use your tongue and/or teeth to line them up or push them into place. Note: It is advisable to clean your teeth before putting in your retainers.
To prevent over-flexing your retainers, they should always be removed at the back first with both sides removed at the same time. For the upper retainer this is best achieved using your fingernails hooked over the edge of the wire clips at the back which hold the retainer onto the teeth. For the lower retainer this is best done by hooking under the edge of the plastic next to your tongue. Try not to use the metal bar across the front to pull/push your retainers out as this “bow” is to keep the front teeth straight. If it is distorted it may allow your teeth to move out of line.
When not in the mouth, the retainers should be placed in a retainer box – these are available from reception.
Cleaning your retainers (retainers with wire only)
Clean the retainers regularly with a toothbrush and water to remove plaque and food debris. If this is not done and food or plaque is allowed to dry on the retainers, it is not easily removed even with vigorous cleaning. To avoid damage, only lukewarm water should be used to clean or soak the retainers.
Retainer Brite should be used at least once a week to disinfect the retainers and can be purchased from reception.
Wearing your retainers
You should wear the retainers as advised by your orthodontist. This will ensure the teeth are held straight during this unstable time while the gums and bone are healing. After this period, you will be advised by the orthodontist when to continue wearing your retainers. You may remove the retainers for eating but ensure they are put back in as soon as possible after eating.
Replacement retainersIf one of the metal parts break, if the retainer is completely broken, or if you are unable to wear it for any reason, please contact the practice immediately. Your teeth will move if the retainer is left out.
If part of the plastic breaks, it can be smoothed over with the soft side of a nail file.
Retainers are expensive. If they are lost, or damaged beyond repair, you will have to pay for replacements. You will also have to pay for replacements if your teeth have moved because of insufficient wear.
The fee for replacements is up to £150 per retainer.