Retainer Instructions

Retention is an essential part of your orthodontic treatment. Please definitely:

  • Wear your retainers as instructed.
  • Take your retainers out when eating, but always put retainers in their case. (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms and restaurants.)
  • Clean your retainers thoroughly once a day by gently brushing them with dish soap and rinsing them with warm, not hot, water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque and eliminates odors. Orthodontic appliance or denture cleaners can be used, but do not replace brushing.
  • Remove your retainers when swimming.
  • Keep your retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
  • When not in your mouth, your retainers must be in their retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, your retainers may hinder your speaking. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If you lose or break them, contact us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers or your retainers need adjusting, contact us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
  • Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
  • With the proper care, your retainers will last for years!

How Long do I need to wear the retainers?

Just like other parts of the human body, your teeth and mouth change with time. Dr. Maulik suggests most patients wear their retainers 24/7 (except when eating and brushing) for six months after their braces are removed. After six months, wear the retainers at night for as long as possible.

A Hawley retainer is a removable acrylic and wire appliance made specifically for each individual by taking an impression. It can be upper or lower or both. We will instruct you to wear it full-time except when eating and brushing. As your teeth stabilize in the bone, we will instruct you to reduce the number of hours you wear your retainers. We instruct and encourage all of our patients to continue to wear their retainers indefinitely. Even wearing your retainers up to two nights a week for many years will reinforce the stabilization of your straight teeth.

A vacuform retainer is a clear retainer only certain patients wear at night. It may be your initial retainer before using a Hawley retainer or your permanent retainer.

A lower lingual retainer is a permanent retainer bonded to your bottom front teeth. It is bonded on in much the same way that your braces were and meant to stay on for a long time. The only difficult part of this retainer is keeping your teeth around it clean. You must floss between your teeth individually—failing to can result in cavities and gum disease.