Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics in Fayetteville and Bentonville

Keeping the Smile through Retainer Maintenance

November 4, 2019

Girl Smiling

Keeping the Smile Through Retainer Maintenance

Braces are typically worn for 18 to 24 months, but when they come off, the focus shifts to retaining gains in one’s smile that came from the braces. The good news is the smile gained from braces can stay intact throughout a lifetime with proper use of a retainer. Many get their braces off during teen years. Some don’t wear their retainer and end up back in braces as an adult. This is why it’s important to keep up with the retainer. Of course, there are different types for different situations. Some patients get bonded retainers that are permanently glued on. That’s not typically used for kids because the cleaning process can be rigorous. Instead, kids are often given removable appliances. Normally with most younger patients, a removable upper retainer is given, made of plastic in the middle and metal on the outside or a tray clear retainer shaped like their teeth. This kind just goes on the teeth. Regardless, a lower retainer will also typically be glued in. This is called a BLR or bonded lower retainer. And of course, this all depends on the age of the child.

The biggest thing for retainers is the need is to follow instructions. If a doctor says to wear it all the time except when not eating, then patients need to do that. If it’s nighttime only wear, then that means nighttime only. That’s actually the type more commonly given. Retainers also need to be kept in a protective case. Typically, Pediatric Dental Associates and Orthodontics, will provide one the day retainers go in. Rinse and clean retainers as best as possible. Warm water and a toothbrush work perfectly fine, but some people use toothpaste. There’s even cleaning tablets. Just remember the retainer needs to be taken care of like any other appliance. The appliances can also be rinsed in clear mouthwash, not a blue or green one. Let them soak in the clear mouthwash. Just clean them regularly so the retainers stay fresh and appropriate for putting back in.

If a retainer gets lost or broken, call the office immediately. Replacements can vary in price depending on what kind is needed. An appointment is necessary, and another scan may be needed to make a new one, depending on how long a patient has worn the retainer. If a patient sees a shift in their teeth even with the retainer, get to the dentist because they’ll want to know. It’s simple maintenance when braces come off. Follow instructions. If the retainer isn’t in the  mouth, it’s in a case. Keep in mind if a patient loses their retainer that some replacements need to be sent off to the lab and may take longer to get back in. So it’s important to get replacements done quickly if a retainer is lost. It’s not worth risking a shift in teeth that might come without the retainer while without a retainer.Adults who had braces as a child may notice some shifting in their teeth as an adult. These patients can also be seen by Pediatric Dental Associates and Orthodontics and are welcome.

To set up an appointment, simply call 479-582-0600.

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Our Doctors

Pediatric Dentists

Tonya R. Triplett, DDS
Jerry L. Sanders, DDS
William P. Tompkins, DDS
Karen A. Green, DDS
Garrett W. Sanders, DDS
Matthew S. Killingsworth, DMD

General Dentists

Courtney S. Smith, DDS
Leah S. Jennings, DMD
Valerie Q. Rockacy, DMD


Jason M. Landers, DDS, MS