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

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

The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, to include thorough brushing and flossing techniques. His or her family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations or more frequently if the dentist recommends it.

Removable Retainers

Once active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is imperative that the retainers are worn as instructed. Failure to wear the retainers may result in undesirable movement of the 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 full time as prescribed by our orthodontists.

Once your teeth have stabilized, wear your retainers at night indefinitely to maintain your beautiful smile. As you get older your bite can change based on muscles and clenching.


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 (F°).

Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth. They should also be kept away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them. Retainers should be cleaned before and after placement in the mouth. Because the material used for 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 mixture of 50% vinegar to water for soaking an help losen up tightly bound plaque residue. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleaning residue.

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

Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)

This wire should stay on indefinetly. 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 our orthodintists prescribes. The fixed wire will protect the teeth as the patient gets older or as the bite changes with age. Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month checkups.