Orthodontic Retainers

Now that you’ve achieved a gorgeous smile, it’s vital that you wear your retainer to preserve it! Learn about how retainers work, types of retainers, and tips for maintaining your smile.  

Orthodontic Retainers

Now that you’ve achieved a gorgeous smile, it’s vital that you wear your retainer to preserve it! Learn about how retainers work, types of retainers, and tips for maintaining your smile.  

Why Are Retainers Necessary?

Everyone needs a retainer after braces, no matter the complexity of your case. The retention stage is crucial because it allows you to maintain your new smile to stand the test of time. Once you are ready, our docs will help you begin the retention stage of treatment.

After completing your initial treatment, it can take 4 to 6 months for the position of your teeth to become permanent. Without retainer use, straight teeth can gradually drift back towards their initial alignment. Wearing retainers helps to protect your smile and investment.

Although you won’t be visiting us at our office anymore, your treatment’s retention phase is vital to your treatment results’ long-term stability.  It is extremely important to wear your retainers as directed.

Types of Retainers

There are two types of retainers: removable and permanent. In our office, we recommend all patients start retainer treatment with a permanent retainer that is bonded to the back of their lower six front teeth. This retainer is included in your treatment price.

In addition to your permanent lower bonded retainer, we recommend a removable retainer for your uppers and lowers. Patients can choose between either Essix and Vivera retainers. Both of these options are suited to most people’s busy lifestyles. 

Discover more about our three retainer options below!

Lower Bonded
Retainer

A flat, flexible wire that is bonded to the backside of your front six lower teeth. The wire is not removable and is not visible while speaking or smiling. This type of retainer is advisable for patients with good oral hygiene. Bonded retainers serve as an additional layer of protection to keep teeth from shifting. Your removable Essix or Vivera retainer will fit on top of the lower bonded retainer.

  • Included in treatment
  • $200 to replace for treated patients

Essix Clear, Removable Retainer

These are clear, transparent retainers made of a thin plastic designed to fit precisely over your teeth. The main advantage of Essix retainers is that they’re hardly noticeable and easy to remove, with no visible components like wires. With proper care, Essix retainers only need to be replaced every two to three years or more, depending on different factors like clenching and grinding.

  • Included in treatment
  • $150 per arch to replace w/ mold
  • $220 per arch to replace w/out mold

Vivera, Removable Retainer

Vivera retainers are clear and removable, just like the Essix. However, the material is 30% stronger, which reduces the risk of retainer cracking or breaking. While there is an additional cost of $300 upfront for Vivera, you receive four sets of retainers (4 uppers and 4 lowers). This means years of retainers ensuring that you maintain your investment.

  • 4 sets for $300 at braces removal
  • $600 to replace 4 sets

Retainer Care

Like braces, retainers are an investment in your oral health, and you want to ensure that you are correctly taking care of them so they last a long time. Caring for your retainer is important for many reasons! These include oral hygiene, protecting your smile, and keeping your retainers from cracking or breaking.

Removing Your Retainers

  • Take your retainers out every time you eat, brush your teeth, go swimming, or play sports that require a mouthguard.
  • When taking out your retainers, make sure you wash your hands and pop the retainer out with both hands simultaneously from the back. Be careful: sometimes using one hand can cause the retainer to crack as too much force or bend is applied to one side.
  • Remove your retainers when drinking sugary or acidic beverages; keeping the retainers in will trap the liquid, which could cause enamel decalcification.
  • Every time you remove your retainers, store them in the case that was provided to you. Do NOT put your retainers in a napkin or on a lunch tray – it will likely get thrown away!
  • Ensure your retainers are kept away from areas that become hot, such as microwaves, washers and dryers, stoves, car dashboards, and dishwashers.

Pets like the smell of the saliva and will chew on them if they can, so keep your retainer away from dogs and cats.

How to Clean Your Removable Retainers

After brushing your teeth, apply a small bead (smaller than the size of a pea) of toothpaste on your toothbrush, and gently but thoroughly brush your retainers before putting them back in. Clean your retainers on a monthly basis by using one of the following methods:

  • Retainer Brite Cleaning Tablets: These can be found online or at many major retailers.
  • Equal Parts Water and White Vinegar: Soak your retainers in this mixture for
    20-30 minutes, then rinse well before putting them back in your mouth. Do not use boiling water.
  • Brushing your retainers with your normal toothpaste and toothbrush.

To keep your retainers tasting fresh, you can soak them in mouthwash diluted with water for about 10 minutes.

How to Clean Your Removable Retainers

After brushing your teeth, apply a small bead (smaller than the size of a pea) of toothpaste on your toothbrush, and gently but thoroughly brush your retainers before putting them back in. Clean your retainers on a monthly basis by using one of the following methods:

  • Retainer Brite Cleaning Tablets: These can be found online or at many major retailers.
  • Equal Parts Water and White Vinegar: Soak your retainers in this mixture for
    20-30 minutes, then rinse well before putting them back in your mouth. Do not use boiling water.
  • Brushing your retainers with your normal toothpaste and toothbrush.

To keep your retainers tasting fresh, you can soak them in mouthwash diluted with water for about 10 minutes.

Bonded Retainer Guidelines

  • Your retainer has been attached to your teeth with a strong and durable adhesive. However, eating hard or chewy foods may break the bonded retainer off your teeth. Be careful when eating as you were when you had braces on your teeth.
  • Spend more time and effort brushing this part of your mouth.
  • Keep your retainers away from areas that become hot, such as microwaves, washers and dryers, stoves, car dashboards, and dishwashers.
  • Be sure to floss your retainer after meals. Use floss threaders, proxy brushes, or special floss made specifically for braces. Thread it between the teeth and the bonded retainer.

If you notice your teeth shifting, your bonded retainer may be loose. Call our office promptly so we may schedule an appointment to have it rebonded.

Get A Retainer Appointment Near You

Please be sure to bring your retainers with you to all of your retainer check appointments so that we can check them in your mouth. If you break or lose your retainer, give us a call right away – you don’t want to give your teeth a chance to move! Lost or broken retainers can be replaced for a fee.

Schedule an appointment with the experienced professionals at Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics now!

Experience The Difference