How often am I supposed to wear my retainer?

Immediately following the removal of your braces, you may have to wear your retainers full time (22 hours a day). After that period of time, you will move to nighttime wear. Our office will schedule a few retainer check appointments withing the first two years after your braces come off to make sure there are no problems with your retainers. 


How many years do I wear my retainers?

We recommend you wear them throughout your lifetime. If retainers are not worn, you will most likely have teeth move. Teeth don’t like change! We check your retainers for two years after your braces come off to make sure there are no problems. Overtime, your retainers may crack, break, get worn down or become lost. Even if you’ve been out of braces for several years, we recommend you replace those retainers. You invested in your smile and we want to make sure that smile is maintained.


Can I get a permanent retainer?

For some patients, a wire bonded behind some of your front teeth can act as a permanent retainer. However, these retainers are not for everyone. Talk to Dr. Kopf about your retainer options. 


How long am I supposed to keep my permanent retainer?

It’s called a “permanent” retainer for a reason. We want you to keep it as long as possible. However, “permanent” does not mean “indestructible.” These retainers can bend, break off one or several teeth, or completely come off. If this happens, call your orthodontist or dentist as quickly as possible. Broken retainers can cause teeth to move and and can be potentially be damaging. Additional orthodontic treatment may be necessary to correct teeth that have moved.
It is important to brush and floss around permanent retainers. If brushing and flossing is not adequate, you may get cavities, recession (gums start shrinking back from your teeth), and an increased risk of gum disease. Your dentist or orthodontist may recommend you remove the bonded retainer if it’s not kept clean.


What happens if I don’t wear my removable retainers?

Your teeth will most likely move. Additional orthodontic treatment may be needed to correct those teeth that moved.


What do I do if my permanent bonded retainer came loose or broke off?

Call and schedule with your orthodontist or dentist ASAP! They will most likely assess the retainer to see if they can still use it. If not, they may discuss different retainer options. If the broken or loose retainer isn’t addressed quickly, teeth can move and some of the movements can be damaging.


What do I do if I lost or broke my removable retainer?

Call and schedule with your orthodontist ASAP! We recommend indefinite wear of retainers. The quicker we can replace broken or lost retainers, the less likely teeth will move. If they aren’t replaced quickly, the teeth may move to undesirable positions.


How do I keep my removable retainers clean?

Brush your retainers when you brush your teeth. Make sure all the saliva is rinsed off. Dried saliva is hard to get off and will stain your retainers. If the retainers get really dirty, purchase some denture cleaner tablets and follow the instructions posted on the package.