Retention Phase

retainer atlantaDid you know that your teeth naturally want to shift over time, even after you have braces?

Once your braces are removed, the next part of your treatment is called retention. Retainers are designed to “retain” or hold your teeth in their straight position due to them wanting to move. We use Hawley retainers which are custom made to fit your mouth. They are made of a plastic or acrylic top that is formed to the roof of your mouth and a metal wire that goes in front of the teeth. They are removable, but should be worn as instructed by your doctor.

hawley lower teeth

Retainer Wear

It is very important for you to wear your retainer every night, otherwise, your teeth may shift and the benefit of wearing your braces will be lost. Dr. Cox recommends that you wear your retainer indefinitely. Consider it your insurance policy that you can rely on to keep your teeth straight. Due to the fact that your teeth naturally move due to growth, eating and grinding, your retainer is the only thing that will keep you from needing orthodontic treatment a second time. To keep your retainer clean and to help it last, learn how to properly care for your retainer.

Lost Your Retainer or Your Retainer No Longer Fits?

A lost retainer and a retainer that no longer fits are both common and we can help! It is very easy to misplace your retainer after eating or brushing your teeth. We recommend always placing it in its case when it is not in your mouth, however we understand that accidents happen.

With either case, give us a call to set up an appointment or request an appointment online. If you still have your retainer (even if it does not fit), bring it with you. Sometimes we are able to make a small adjustment for it to pop right back in. The sooner you make the appointment, the better! 

retainer case

Retainer FAQs:

  1. What to do if your retainer wire becomes loose?

    Call our office immediately, and we will schedule an appointment for the patient. Don’t attempt to fix this on your own, it could cause further damage or affect your teeth position. Follow any instructions our orthodontist provides on how to proceed.

  2. How do you make a retainer more comfortable to wear?

    It’s normal to need some time to adjust to your retainer. If after a few days the discomfort hasn’t subsided, let us know. If you go for long periods without wearing your retainer, you might experience pain or pressure when you start wearing it again. If this persists, call our office so we can check the fit of your retainer.

  3. What should I do if my retainer breaks?

    Don’t Delay! Contact our orthodontic office to avoid shifting in your teeth. While waiting for the retainer to be fixed you should continue wearing it, if possible, until you can get a new one from your orthodontist.

  4. How long will I need to wear my retainer after my braces come off?

    The simple answer is indefinitely, to maintain the results achieved by braces.

    Generally, you will wear your retainers full-time for a period of time (all day and night except when eating or brushing your teeth). Eventually, you will transition to wearing your retainer only at night. Follow the guidance from our orthodontic specialists for when to transition to nighttime wear.

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