Keeping Your Smile Healthy After Braces Are Removed

Posted on: 16 December 2014

Orthodontic treatment is like any other worthwhile investment you have ever made in that you will want to keep your new smile looking pristine and healthy. Regardless of whether you or a member of your family has been supplied with an acrylic, clear, fixed, or wire-type retainer, there are some guidelines you need to follow:  

1. Wear your retainer. These devices are meant to keep your teeth in position until your gums and bone adjust to recent changes. Your teeth may shift a bit if the retainer is not worn and no doubt, you don't want to compromise the smile you have put so much effort into achieving. Hence, the retainer can never be worn too excessively.

2. Wear the retainer for eight hours a day – at least. Your retainer should be worn for eight hours in a row (or even more) every day for the first twelve months after treatment. It may be necessary for some people, especially those who have teeth missing or who have had surgery to their jaw, to wear the appliance for at least twelve hours each day. Clearly, a good time to do this is at night while you are asleep.    

3. Store your retainer safely. Store the appliance in a safe place when you are not wearing it. Your orthodontist will provide a case with it, so this is obviously the best place to keep it. Many people have had to have their retainer replaced because it got thrown away accidentally or the dog got it! 

4. Be vigilant about follow-up visits to your orthodontist. These are important after treatment is complete. Most likely, you will be invited to visit your orthodontist two or three times in the course of the first year after treatment. This will give them chance to monitor your progress and to provide guidance on how much or how frequently you should continue to wear your retainer. 

5. It is important to clean your retainer. A retainer needs to be kept clean. It can be brushed like normal teeth with toothpaste or you can clean it two or three times each week with denture tablets. These procedures will keep the appliance free of odor and will prevent plaque from building up. However, remember not to soak the device in very hot water because this can cause its shape to change.


Caring for your smile after orthodontic treatment is ultimately your responsibility. Look out for any shifting in your teeth, as this can indicate you are not wearing your retainer enough. If there is any sign of shifting, start wearing the appliance again each night. However, do bear in mind that very little can go wrong if you keep wearing your retainer at night – even for years after your treatment has finished. Your reward will be a beautiful, life-long smile!  For more information, contact a dentist like Bruce Parker DMD.


About Marcel and the Dentist

Hi, my name is Marcel. Welcome to my site! I started it to help others learn about children's dentistry. Most of us don't remember dentist trips from our early childhood. Maybe we didn't even really care about our teeth until we started losing baby teeth. In my case, I became interested in children's dentistry as a young father. When my kids were young, I was a student, and our insurance did not cover visits to the dentist. Although my wife and I tried to teach our kids good hygiene on our own, it was difficult. When we we finally able to take them to the dentist, my little girls were scared and didn't know what was going on. Luckily, they appreciate the dentist now that they are older, but their first experiences helped teach me more about the importance of children's dentistry. Hopefully you can learn from my experiences!