The proper care of your newly straightened teeth is critical to the longevity of your results. Dr. Hwang of Amazing Smiles Orthodontics is diligent about providing his patients with the information they need after their braces and orthodontic appliances have been removed. He is also available at any time to answer questions about cleaning the teeth, wearing retainers and returning for follow-up visits.
Removable Orthodontic Retainers
Every orthodontic patient is unique, however according to the most recent evidence, retainer wear is lifelong for all orthodontic patients. Some patients may need to wear retainers more frequently while others may need to wear retainers less. There are also different retainer options available. Dr. Hwang will provide a customized schedule that outlines the type of retainer you should wear along with retainer wear instructions for the first two years after orthodontic treatment. After that, it is up to you to wear the retainers as much as needed to maintain the proper tooth position and alignment. If the retainers are not worn correctly, your teeth can slip or relapse, and/or the retainer may no longer fit comfortably.
Guidelines for Wearing Your Removable Retainer
- As you acclimate to your new retainer, it can be helpful to read aloud to yourself at home.
- Wear your retainer at all times, except for mealtimes (unless instructed otherwise).
- To clean a retainer with a wire, remove it and brush it with your toothbrush or a stiffer brush. Once a week, disinfect the retainer with denture cleaner.
- If you wear an Essix, or clear, wireless retainer, soak it in mouthwash or bubbly denture cleaner for ½-1 hour per day. Use a Q-tip instead of a toothbrush to clean.
- Your retainer should be worn at all times except during meals unless specifically directed otherwise. When it is not in your mouth, keep it in a special case.
- Don’t forget to clean the case.
- Avoid any source of heat (e.g., car dashboard, stovetop, boiling water).
- Keep away from pets.
- If it ever gives you any problem or is lost or broken, call the office immediately to make an appointment. DO NOT attempt to adjust it on your own. There is a charge to replace any lost or broken retainer.
Fixed retainers are commonly used for lower teeth and sometimes indicated for the upper teeth. They are typically worn as long as possible and may be removed by Dr. Hwang or your general dentist at a later date at the request of the patient or if persistent oral hygiene deficiencies are present due to the presence of a fixed retainer
Space maintainers are placed to accommodate erupting permanent teeth or maintain the current position of permanent teeth that have already erupted. Without this space maintainer your child’s teeth may have difficulty erupting or staying in their proper position.
Guidelines for Wearing Space Maintainers
- Avoid dislodging them by eating sticky foods like caramels, taffy, hard candy, gum, gummy candies, ice cubes and other hard or crunchy foods.
- Keep sugar intake low.
- Make an extra effort to brush and floss regularly and properly. After cleaning, inspect the space maintainer for damage.
- Refrain from flipping the appliance with the tongue or picking at the wires or bands.
- See your dentist every six months (at a minimum) for regular examination.
- If the appliance comes loose, call our office immediately. If it falls out, put it in an envelope and store it in a safe place and call our office immediately. Please bring it to the appointment.
- If the appliance causes pain or discomfort, there may be a complication. Call us immediately and make an appointment.
Eating the wrong foods can cause an appliance to break and may cause a delay in treatment. Following all the instructions will result in a nice, healthy smile. Additional fees may be incurred after appliance breakage.
Avoid the following foods:
- Hard, sticky foods
- Jolly Ranchers and taffy
- Nuts, including sunflower seeds
- Hard bagels, pizza crust, rolls, (cut them up into small pieces)
- Hard pretzels
- Tortilla chips or hard shell tacos
Enjoy the following foods only as instructed, as follows:
- Apples: always cut up into small pieces
- Carrots: only if they are cooked or shredded
- Soft pretzels: cut into small pieces
Also avoid chewing on pencils or pen caps.
- Brush after each meal
- Floss daily. Use a bridge threader to go underneath the wire
- Fluoride rinses are recommended (e.g., OxyFresh rinse or Prevident toothpaste)
- Electric toothbrush (e.g., Oral-B 3D toothbrush)
- For pain or discomfort take ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) as recommended
- Dental check-ups are recommended every six months unless directed otherwise by Dr. Hwang.