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Home Care Instructions: Retainers


Retainers are removable or fixed appliances that are worn after braces are removed, to correct minor tooth discrepancies, or to hold teeth in place for certain reasons. A traditional removable retainer has a metal bar that is placed across the front surface of the teeth. The plastic portion of the retainer rests on the roof of the mouth or along the inside of the bottom teeth. The plastic portion has many different colors or designs to choose from. A clear retainer is, basically, a clear aligner that holds the teeth in place.

The following are instructions to care for removable retainers:


  • Retainers are to be worn full timefor the first six months after braces are removed. Thereafter, Dr. Ruby will instruct you on your wear. Typically, then retainers are then worn for the next six months at nighttime only, followed by six months three times a week. Finally, they are worn one time a week for the next six months.
  • Retainers are to be cleaned at least twice a day by brushing them with toothpaste, a toothbrush and cold water. Brushing the retainer will remove food, plaque, bacteria and eliminate odors. Efferdent denture cleaner can be used as an adjunct to clean the retainer.
  • If the retainer is not in your mouth, it is to ALWAYSbe placed in the retainer case.
  • Dogs love retainers. They look and smell like chew bones. It only takes a few seconds for a dog to destroy a retainer. NEVERplace your retainer on a table or on a counter without it being in its case. NEVER place your retainer in a napkin or your pocket without the case.
  • When retainers are first placed in your mouth, your speech may be altered. You may slur your speech for a few hours to a few days. The more you speak the faster your tongue will adapt to the retainers.
  • Retainers are breakable. Dropping them, stepping on them, throwing them or excessive playing with them can cause them to crack or break.
  • Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacement is expensive. If properly cared for, the retainers can last for years.
  • Do not adjust your retainers.
  • If your retainers are lost, stolen or broken, call the office immediately.

If you have any questions about your retainer fit or wear, please do not hesitate to call the office.

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