Orthodontist in Houston, TX

All About Retainers

Care Guide for


Congratulations on completing your orthodontic treatment and achieving that beautiful smile! Now, it’s time to ensure your teeth stay in their new positions. Retainers play a vital role in maintaining your straightened teeth and bite alignment. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of retainer care.

From cleaning and storage to daily wear and potential adjustments, we’ve got you covered. We understand that wearing a retainer might feel unfamiliar at first, but don’t worry! We’re here to make it a breeze and help you embrace this essential step in your orthodontic journey. Let’s dive in and ensure your smile stays stunning for years to come!

1. Wear Your Retainers As Directed

Why do you need to wear your retainers for the rest of your life? Shift happens…it is inevitable. Protect your investment by wearing your retainers as directed:

  • 1 year after getting braces off: Wear EVERY night.
  • 1-2 years after getting braces off: Wear 5 nights/week
  • 2-4 years after getting braces off: Wear 3 nights/week
  • 5 years-FOREVER: Put retainer in your mouth 1 time per week. If it is snug, wear until loose.

2. Clean Your Retainers Daily

To keep your retainers clean, brush them with soap (no microbeads or whitening agents) every morning. Toothpaste can be used, but the grittiness may wear down the plastic over time.Soak your retainers periodically to keep them fresh. Suggested products:
  • Retainer Brite
  • Mouthwash or dental cleanser

3. Store Your Retainers in Their Protective Case

Always keep retainers in its protective case when its not in your mouth. Never wrap retainers in a napkin. You will forget about them and they are easily mistaken for trash and thrown away. Never put your appliance in a pocket or your backpack where it may be bent, or even crushed.

4. Keep Your Retainers Away From Heat

Keep retainers away from heat to prevent warping and melting. High temperatures can distort the shape and fit of your retainers, ruining their effectiveness.
  • Never leave your retainers in direct sunlight.
  • Never leave your retainers in the car.
  • Keep your retainers away from hot surfaces (stove, heater, etc…).
  • Never put your retainers in boiling water. If they get dirty, soak them in alcohol.
Remember = always store your retainers in a cool, dry place when you aren’t wearing them.

5. If You Lose or Break Your Retainer

If your retainers are damaged or broken, please contact the office right away. We can try to fix it, but replacement may be necessary.

There is a fee for lost or broken retainers. Without a retainer, your teeth will relapse.

6. Keep Your Retainers Away From Pets

It is important that you keep your retainers away from any pets. The smell of the materials your retainer is made of, along with the smell of your saliva, can make it an irresistable chew toy to many animals – especially dogs. Keeping your retainers stored safely in their case is the best way to protect them from curious pets.

7. If Your Retainers Aren't Fitting Right

Your retainers should feel like it fits your teeth if you are wearing them properly. They don’t change in size, but your teeth can shift making the retainer extremely tight. If you have any questions about how your retainer is fitting, feel free to schedule an appointment.

8. Follow-Up Visits

You will have an appointment 6 months after the active phase has completed. After this, call on an as needed basis. Please bring your retainers with you to every appointment. We need to check their fit and sometimes adjust/replace them.

9. If Things Change

There could be developments after the active phase of orthodontic treatment that will require other orthodontic treatments. Further orthodontic treatments are not included in your original fee. These deveopments include, but are not limited to:

  • jaw growth
  • health of teeth, roots, & gum structure – position of third molars

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At Cooper Orthodontics, we are confident that you will love your new smile and we think you’ll enjoy the journey to that smile as well. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Listen to what some of our awesome patients have to say about Cooper Orthodontics and their experience.

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