You made it!
Congratulations! You are “out of braces” and have a beautiful smile; but one more step is critical to maintaining the improvement that has been made: retention. Using the retainers as we have instructed is the critical final step that will help protect your investment in your new smile. Proper retainer wear will hold your teeth in place to help secure them in their new positions.
Here are some tips for effective retainer use:
- Wear it: Your retainer must be worn ALL THE TIME except when you eat or when you brush your teeth. You might have problems with speech in the beginning. It should take a few days to a few weeks to get used to talking with the retainers, but you will need to practice speaking with them in to allow your tongue to adapt.
- Keep it clean: Brush your retainer just like your teeth- with a toothbrush after every meal. If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth and retainer thoroughly with cold water. You can soak them in a denture cleaner such as Efferdent or white vinegar if they develop hard deposits on them (calculus or tartar). Don’t put them in hot water or leave them in a hot place. This will distort them. To sterilize them, soak them in a solution of one part household bleach to ten parts water for about half an hour.
- Don’t lose or break it: The easiest way to avoid losing the retainer is simply by keeping it in your mouth. It should always be worn as instructed or safe in the case provided. Otherwise it can be lost, sat on, thrown away in a napkin, etc. There will be additional charges if lost or broken. Please call us immediately if your retainer is lost or broken so you don’t give your teeth a chance to move.
- Don’t adjust it yourself: For any reason that the retainers don’t fit properly, call us right away for an appointment so Dr. Jow can adjust it for you. Retainers are delicate appliances; do not try to adjust them yourself.
Hold on to that smile!
Avoid hard foods for the first few weeks because your teeth are still mobile and sensitive. It’s important to stabilize your teeth so they become more secure in their new position. Typically, retainers are worn full-time for at least 6 months after full braces, but this will vary from patient to patient. Please give us a call if you ever have any questions or concerns.
Make a check-up appointment with your dentist
It’s essential for you to have a thorough cleaning and check up with your dentist as soon as possible. It is a lot easier now for your dentist to clean your teeth without braces. You may have also developed cavities during treatment. Make that appointment and make sure your teeth will be in their best shape ever.
Congratulations again, you’ve worked long and hard getting that smile. Stay with it a little longer. You’ll be glad you did!