Retainers keep your teeth in place and are most commonly used after your braces are removed as your teeth settle into position. Retainers prevent your teeth from moving after orthodontic treatment is complete.

Retainers are all similar, but there are several types and styles available. Our office only uses removable Precision Fit retainers due to the risks of decay and fracture associated with fixed retainers. Retainers are a high-grade plastic, and some types can be customized with colors or even a picture. Dr. Trammell and Dr. Schanilec may prescribe an upper retainer, a lower retainer or both.

Retainers are a vital part of most orthodontic treatment plans, but many patients don’t fully understand how important it is to wear the retainers for a lifetime to defeat changes resulting from aging. We strongly encourage you to follow the retainer instructions Dr. Trammell and Dr. Schanilec provide you in order to maintain your new smile and bite. Take a look through this information to get a better understanding of what retainers are and how to use yours correctly.

Why Do I Need a Retainer?

Retention is the final part of your orthodontic treatment.

  • Once your active treatment is complete, your retainer ensures your teeth remain in the desired position. Otherwise, changes due to aging accumulate, with crowding appearing in the lower arch, sometimes very quickly, followed by spacing changes and/or crowding in the upper arch.
  • Retainers also provide occlusal coverage for your teeth in order to prevent excessive wear and tear to the enamel.

Retainer Rules

  • At first, wear your retainer all day and all night or as otherwise instructed. Dr. Trammell and Dr. Schanilec will give instructions for when you should begin reducing wear time.
  • Retainers can be lost or broken. Dogs often eat retainers that are left within their reach. Leave the retainer in its case when you’re not using it.
  • Bring your retainers to each appointment at Schanilec & Trammell Orthodontics.
  • Keep your retainer clean. Immediately after removing your retainers, brush them with a toothbrush and paste and/or soak in warm water with denture cleaner.
  • No chewing gum—it sticks to the plastic.
  • Never leave your retainer in hot water or near a hot surface as it can melt or become misshapen.

Potential Problems

  • If you don’t wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth may move, preventing the retainer from fitting properly. Your retainer should fit comfortably and securely.
  • Call our Albany or Corvallis office immediately if you break or lose your retainer.
  • If you fail to wear your retainer as instructed for any reason, your teeth can move rapidly out of position. Be responsible, wear your retainer as instructed and call for an appointment immediately if something is preventing you from wearing your retainers.
  • The final models taken in our office are not suitable for making a retainer due to distortions to the models in the drying process. The retainer must be made the same day the impression is taken in order to ensure a good fit.