Once teeth are straightened, it is very important that they be maintained in proper position to permit the supporting structures to strengthen. The retainer can also close small spaces that may exist between the teeth once the appliances are removed. Without your full cooperation, unfavorable movement will occur.

After active treatment your retainer must be worn at least 20 hours per day for several months, including when you sleep. You will subsequently be instructed to reduce your wear time according to the stability of your teeth. Eventually retainers will be worn just at night.


Once Phase I or early/interceptive Orthodontic Treatment is completed (usually ages 7-10), it is very important that we maintain the expansion of the dental arches and the space for all the permanent teeth we worked so hard to gain with your expanders and/or limited braces. Without your full cooperation, unfavorable movement will occur, which can make the 2nd phase of your treatment (full braces when all of the permanent teeth are in) longer and more difficult.

After active Phase 1 treatment your retainer(s) must be worn at least 12 hours per day for several months, including when you sleep. Put the retainers in right as you come home from school, and wear them throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening, and then go to sleep with them. You do not have to take your retainers to school, that’s where most kids tend to lose them. Make sure to brush your teeth and the retainers after dinner, snacking, and before bedtime. Take them out in the morning, brush your teeth and the retainers, and store the retainers in the retainer case at home when you go to school.

Eventually, once the result of your treatment is more stable, retainers will be worn just at night.

Furthermore, once most of your permanent teeth are in, we’ll tell you to stop wearing your Phase 1 retainer altogether – only the Doctor can decide when you are finished with your Phase 1 retainer and can stop wearing it!


Brush your retainers after each meal with an ordinary tooth or hand brush and water. You may also use soap or toothpaste if desired. Keep it clean!!!

When retainers are not being worn for any reason, be absolutely sure to place them in your retainer case. Speaking will be slightly impaired for a day or two but will quickly return to normal. Your saliva flow will also temporarily increase. Upon initial insertion, the retainers might feel tight, but will have a tendency to loosen quickly as teeth adjust. The retention phase of treatment lasts for about 12 months and is included in your treatment fee. After this time, a nominal office visit charge will apply for retainer adjustments.

Should your retainer be lost or damaged, there is a replacement laboratory charge. If you lose or break your retainers, please contact us immediately so that we can replace them. If retainers are not worn for as little as one to two weeks, they often do not fit and new ones may be required.


  • DO NOT permit availability to your pet dog and/or cat; he or she will destroy them.
  • DO NOT wear retainers during vigorous sports activities or when swimming.
  • DO NOT place in napkin when eating; this is the most common reason for loss.
  • DO NOT place retainers in boiling water.


Are you ever done with your retainers?
A word about the permanence of orthodontic correction. If we could put your teeth away on a shelf and let them stay there, they would always remain perfectly straight. But fortunately, they are there to be used. It has been the experience of orthodontists, through the years, that most of the orthodontic correction can be maintained with a little long-term maintenance and effort. Your teeth are there for you to use and some adaptive changes may occur. This is not failure of the treatment, but nature's changes that we learn to expect from the body, as we grow older. Studies consistently show that teeth do tend to shift and move over time, even into late adulthood, whether you had orthodontic treatment or not, it’s just a normal part of maturing and getting older, and in some people they tend to move/shift more than in others - unfortunately there is no good way to predict it. If you wish to insure the stability and permanence of the results achieved with orthodontic treatment, life-time retainer wear should be considered. Yes, retainers are like diamonds – they’re forever!!! Just think of them as pajamas for your teeth and wear them consistently when you sleep. If worn consistently long-term, retainers will help you keep that straight smile for life.

Dr Tsibel's tip/guide for long-term retention:
After you are done with active retention phase at our office, continue to use the retainers several nights each week if you want to retain the present alignment of your teeth and avoid nature from taking its course. How often you will need to continue to use the retainers varies from one person to the next. After a while you yourself can determine the right schedule needed for your teeth. Increase the interval between retainer-wear (by a day or two) until the retainers start to feel a little tight when you place them at bedtime. This tightness is a sign that the interval is a little too long and the teeth are beginning to shift, so reduce the interval by a day or so. In another few months you can try to increase the interval again. This should be a good guide of how many nights per week you’ll need to wear your retainers to keep that straight smile!

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