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Why are retainers prescribed?

Retainers are prescribed for two reasons: first, to allow the bone that holds teeth to rebuild after teeth have moved, and second, to maintain the healthy new positions of teeth after active orthodontic treatment ends. Your body changes your whole life, and your teeth change too. The only way to keep your teeth in the ideal position created by your orthodontic treatment is to wear retainers for life!

How do I keep my retainer clean? 

If you’ve been fitted with a removable retainer, it’s easy to clean when you take it out. Your orthodontist will show you how. If your retainer is attached to your teeth, it’s important to brush thoroughly after meals and clean under the wire with dental floss at least once a day. Ask your orthodontist how to care for your fixed retainer.

My retainer feels tight. Can I still wear it?

As long as your retainer doesn’t hurt and still fits over your teeth, you can wear it – even if it feels tight. Your teeth may have slightly shifted, and you may need to wear your retainer longer each day to prevent your teeth from moving. 

Try wearing your retainer full-time for a few days to encourage your teeth to move back into their correct positions. If the retainer continues to feel uncomfortable, contact your AAO orthodontist to determine the next steps.

How often should I wear my retainer?

Retainers are effective only if you faithfully follow your orthodontist’s instructions for wearing them. Wearing a retainer after your braces are removed is the best way to preserve that healthy, beautiful smile you worked so hard to get.