multicolored retainers placed on top of a pale blue background

Retainers After Braces: What You Should Know

If you’re nearing the end of your orthodontic treatment with braces, your orthodontist will inform you that you’ll transition to wearing a retainer for a while. How long you need to wear a retainer, and the type of retainer you’ll wear will depend upon your unique alignment and bite. Read on for everything you need to know about wearing a retainer after completing orthodontic treatment with braces, Invisalign, clear braces, Incognito® braces, or Damon® braces.

What does a retainer do?

A retainer is a type of orthodontic appliance that ensures that your teeth retain their new position after your treatment with braces. Your teeth tend to naturally shift back into old positions, so a retainer is used to prevent this shifting. Because your teeth never stop shifting, the goal of retainers is to maintain retention for life. 

Retainers may also allow for minor adjustments to your alignment following treatment with braces or alignment technology. Retainers are custom-made for your specific bite and alignment.  

Clear retainers, such as Vivera retainers which are made by Invisalign, have been proven to be significantly stronger and more durable than other types of retainers, making them an increasingly popular choice for orthodontists and patients. Patients who receive Vivera retainers will get a set of four retainers, to keep their teeth in proper alignment even if they lose one set, or as retainers wear out. 

How long will I have to wear a retainer?

The length of time that you’ll wear your retainer, will depend upon your unique alignment and bite. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all retainer, the length of time you’ll need to wear yours is also unique to your treatment plan. Some patients may be advised to wear their retainer full time in the months after having their braces removed, or completing treatment with Invisalign.

After the first few months, most people will only need to wear their retainers at night while sleeping. For best results, your orthodontist may recommend wearing a retainer indefinitely, however, you may be able to reduce the number of nights that you wear your retainer, instead of wearing it every night.

How to Take Care of Your Retainer

It’s important to take proper care of your retainer to keep it free of bacteria. Consider taking care of your retainer the same way you take care of your teeth. Brush your retainer regularly with a soft-bristled brush and rinse it with water. When you’re not wearing your retainer, it is best to keep it in its case. Do not leave it exposed in very hot temperatures, and do not leave it somewhere that a nosy pet could get to it.  If you have the Vivera retainer, you may use the same cleaning system you used to clean your Invisalign retainers. You may also use a denture soak periodically to keep your retainer fresh. 

If your retainer appears to be wearing out, notify your orthodontist. Or, if you have backup sets of Vivera retainers, begin using a new retainer if yours is showing signs of wear. If you lose your retainer, contact your orthodontist as soon as possible to have a new retainer ordered.  

Maintaining Straight Teeth for Life in NYC

At Jennifer Stachel Orthodontics, we believe in maintaining beautiful smiles throughout each patient’s life. Dr. Stachel proudly offers Vivera clear retainers to patients following completion of orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign.  To schedule an orthodontic consultation, contact us today at 212-877-7177