Are you looking for quality Dallas orthodontics from a skilled and compassionate Lakewood family dentist? If so, then look no further than Lakewood Dental Group. Our talented dentists, Dr. Shaun Sigurdson and Dr. Mihir Patel, can help you get the award-winning smile of your dreams with contemporary orthodontic solutions.

If you’ve recently completed months or years of orthodontic treatments, then you’ll probably want to keep your beautifully straightened smile for the rest of your life. But, unfortunately, newly straightened teeth can quickly shift out of alignment if nothing is keeping them in their new position. That’s why you’ll need retainers to keep your smile healthy and perfectly straight for years to come. 

How do retainers work?

After orthodontic treatments–like Invisalign® or braces–patients’ teeth are in perfect alignment. However, the gum tissue and jaw bones haven’t yet adapted to the teeth’s new position. This means that teeth are likely to migrate back to their original alignment without proper retention.

Retainers keep teeth in their newly aligned position while the gum and bone tissue catch up to their new location. This ensures long-term success after smile-correcting treatments and reduces the risk of repeated orthodontic therapy.

How long should I wear a retainer?

Immediately after completing braces or Invisalign treatments, patients should wear their retainers full-time for approximately six months. However, patients may remove them for brief periods of time, like when they are eating, drinking, brushing, or flossing.

After six months, Dr. Sigurdson and Dr. Patel may suggest that patients can limit their retainer wear to just 10 to 12 hours a day for the next two years. During this phase, most patients choose to wear their retainers while they are sleeping.

After two years, patients may limit their retainer wear to every other night. But, our team recommends wearing a retainer every day for at least eight hours a day, even after two years. This ensures optimal and extended results.

So, how long should you wear a retainer? For as long as you want to enjoy your beautifully straight smile!

How do I care for a retainer?

A removable retainer requires special (but easy!) care. Patients should gently brush their retainers daily with a non-abrasive toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush. Be sure to use lukewarm water to rinse them, as hot water can warp and damage a plastic retainer. 

Approximately once a week, patients should deep clean their retainers in a dentist-approved retainer cleanser. Patients should carefully follow the instructions on the packaging, and thoroughly rinse the retainer before placing it back in the mouth. 

Furthermore, patients should schedule regular appointments with our Lakewood dentists to ensure that their retainers are still functioning properly. Dr. Sigurdson and Dr. Patel may need to make minor adjustments to the appliance to ensure proper retention.

How long do retainers last?

Most removable retainers last between one and three years, after which a new retainer may be necessary. However, patients can extend the lifespan of their retainers by caring for them properly and limiting damaging behavior, like eating with a retainer in or rinsing them with excessively hot water.

Maintain Your Smile With a Quality Retainer

If you’re looking for quality Lakewood orthodontics to help you maintain your newly straightened smile, then it’s time to discuss retainers with the team at Lakewood Dental Group. New and existing patients can get started by calling our office in Dallas, TX, at (214) 827-1885 or by sending us a secure message online.