Retainer Information & Care

You've worked hard for your beautiful smile – keep it that way!

Finally, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful, straight! However, your orthodontic journey isn't quite completed. To keep your smile looking its best, you'll have to wear a retainer to preserve and stabilize your results. Retainers are needed to control or limit potential changes in tooth position. They are used after braces treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment while the surrounding gums, bone, and muscle adjust to the new positioning of your teeth.

Our On Premises Orthodontic Retainer Lab

Comizio Orthodontics 4000 square foot state of the art facility includes our own on premise orthodontic laboratory for making retainers, so that we can give you your retainer as soon as you need it - usually at the same visit that your braces are removed  or aligner orthodontic treatment is completed!

Types of Retainers

Retainers are custom made and can be removable or fixed. Either way, Dr. Comizio and our staff will design and determine the type of retainer that will work best for you. 

Fixed or Bonded Retainers

  • retainers
    Fixed or bonded retainers consist of wires which are typically bonded behind the bottom (and occasionally the top) teeth. This is a very user friendly and cooperation free solution to retention, and it is recommend to be left in place indefinitely. 
  • Fixed Retainers Care Instructions
    Your lower bonded retainer is attached to the back of your teeth, so that you do not need to remove it. This is a good thing as teenagers, parents of teenagers, and busy adults like things that do not require any cooperation! The lower front teeth are the smallest teeth in the mouth, which makes them the most likely ones to move if a removable retainer was not worn properly. Keeping your fixed retainer  clean is easy- while you are brushing your teeth, include the area where the retainer is as you normally would. Your tongue also helps to keep it clean because of its position in your mouth against the back of those bottom teeth. It is also a good idea to floss in between those teeth as well (show how to floss). Use floss threaders, you can get more in the pharmacy or supermarket, and it will help you keep the contact area where your teeth touch clean. Just be careful and avoid pulling up on the retainer wire while flossing, as that can damage it.

Removable Clear Retainers

  • Clear, removable "aligner-style" or Essix retainers offer a more esthetic alternative to the older style plastic and  wire retainers. This clear retainer may fit over the entire arch of your teeth, or only from canine to canine. We make this retainer from a special detailed iTero scan of your newly aligned teeth  and tooth model and retainer fabrication process, both which exceed the general standard mostly used in orthodontics.
  • Clear Essix Retainer Wear Instructions
    Usually, your upper clear retainer needs to be worn full time, 24 hours/day, except while eating and cleaning it, for the next four weeks (this could be different in some cases. Dr Comizio will advise). When you remove your clear retainer to eat, keep it in a safe place, your retainer case, and then clean your teeth and replace it after eating.
  • Keep your removable retainer clean during your initial period of full time wear using soap and warm (not hot!) water and a q-tip or your tooth brush. AVOID CLEANING WITH TOOTHPASTE, because most toothpastes contain abrasives that will scratch the retainer’s surface, making it less clear and also cause it  to attract more particles that will make it harder to keep clean.  Also, once a day you should put visibly clean removable clear retainer in the retainer bath case given to you with warm water and a a disinfecting tablet (this does not take the place of physically brushing and cleaning the retainer). Once you go to night time wear, maintaining your removable retainer is easy. Make sure your teeth are brushed and clean and place your retainer before going to bed.  Upon waking, remove your retainer, rinse it completely and thoroughly of saliva, and then place it into your clean retainer bath case with new warm water and a new disinfecting tablet.  The next night, repeat the same process, and don't forget to clean the disinfecting bath and use new water and a new disinfecting tablet each day!

Retainer Instructions

  • Wear your retainer at all times, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
  • Take your retainer out when eating, and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
  • Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
  • When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
  • Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
  • Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.

Retainer Follow Up

No matter which type, your retainers are the newest type available, and were designed to be the best for maintaining your new smile. They typically do not require adjustment or attention unless they have not been worn properly or are not intact. We will stay in touch with periodic e-mail reminders for you to continue wearing your retainer as prescribed. Typically, your new style retainers not only don't need to be adjusted, there is nothing to adjust on them. Reasons we may need to see you in the future are usually not for good things like broken retainers (including your bonded fixed retainer), lost retainers or not wearing your retainers. However, if any of these happen, please let us know immediately so that we can help you before your smile gets away from you! 

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth can sometimes affect tooth alignment, even  in teenagers and young adults who never had braces. Right after finishing high school and before college is an excellent time to contact us so that we can check the wisdom teeth, and Dr. Comizio can help advise you and your dentist about what he feels is the best for you.

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