Retainers

Removable Appliances
A removable appliance is carefully designed to move or to hold your teeth in place.  It is important that it is worn according to instructions and brought to each appointment.

Wear your appliance as directed by Dr. Auter.  It may be removed while eating, swimming, or playing vigorous sports activities.  In two or three days your speech will return to normal with the appliance in place.  Avoid flipping your appliance with your tongue.  This can cause damage to your teeth or breakage of your appliance.

Your new appliance may make your teeth sore for a day or two, especially after an adjustment.  If you have a sore spot on your gums, call our office so that we can adjust the appliance.

The method for cleaning appliances varies depending on the type being used.  We will provide you with the appropriate instructions when you get your appliance or retainers.  Cleaning appliances removes food, eliminates odors, reduces the potential for cavities, and extends their useful lifespan.

Retainers
Although they are a subset of removable appliances, true retainers are carefully designed not to move teeth, but to hold teeth in their corrected position.  This process of keeping your teeth straight after orthodontic treatment is called retention.

When orthodontic treatment has been completed, there is a great tendency for the teeth to move out of position again.  Teeth continue to move throughout your life and usually become more crooked as you get older.  This is why retainers are provided soon after comprehensive treatment is completed and their wear is monitored by Dr. Auter for a lengthy period of time.  Actually, limited retainer wear on an indefinite basis may be the best way to insure you keep the vast majority of your orthodontic correction over the years and decades to come.

Do(s) and Don’t(s) for removable appliances and retainers:

  • Whenever the appliance is not in your mouth, it should be in its plastic appliance case.
  • Never wrap your appliance in a paper napkin or tissue and set it down on the table.  You or someone else may throw it away.
  • Don’t put it in your pocket when playing or you may break it or lose it.
  • Keep your appliance away from dogs, as they love to chew on them.
  • Avoid storing the appliance near any source of heat (such as the car dash, household radiator, etc.).
  • Do not boil your appliance to sterilize it!  Instead soak in a solution of 1 part bleach to 5 parts water for 20 minutes.
  • Do not soak appliance or retainer in alcohol.

Immediate action required:  If you lose or break your retainers, please call the office as soon as possible during office hours to set up an appointment to be evaluated for retainer repair or replacement.  If a retainer breaks, cracks or suddenly doesn’t seem to fit, remove the retainer from your mouth, and bring all the pieces to our office when you come.

Retainer replacement is expensive, but with proper care, they will last for years.