Maintaining Straight Teeth with Retainers


Dr. Robert Sunstein
San Diego Orthodontist
San Diego, CA Locations
La Jolla - (858) 459-3353
Carmel Valley - (858) 755-1551

Retainers-retain straight teeth


After orthodontic treatment is completed and the braces are removed, most patients will need to wear a retainer for some time. Retainers are devices that help maintain the proper alignment of teeth and straight teeth that were achieved by braces. A retainer can be a fixed wire bonded to the backs of the lower front teeth
or it can be a removable plastic device with a single wire in the front. Whether the retainer is fixed or removable and how long the patient needs to wear it can vary.

It takes time for the bone and surrounding tissues to reorganize more permanently once orthodontic treatment is finished, and a retainer can be used to maintain alignment until the bite stabilizes. In the first month after the braces are removed, the risk of movement is very high. Teeth may take up to a year to stabilize after treatment. If there were gaps between teeth prior to orthodontic treatment, this period can be even longer.

Retainers can be full time or part time (worn only at night). Dr. Sunstein will take in to account your mouth and tooth structure, orthodontic history and personal needs when prescribing the retainer treatment program that's right for you.

It is important that retainers are worn as prescribed. Removable retainers should be taken out during eating, contact sports, and when you brush your teeth. To clean a retainer, remove it and then brush it under tap water using a toothbrush and toothpaste.

At least once a week, disinfect your retainer by soaking it in an over the counter denture cleanser. Add the cleanser to a cup of warm water and allow the retainer to soak in it. Thoroughly rinse the retainer with plain water before putting it back in your mouth.

The safest place to keep a retainer is in your mouth. When not being worn, retainers should always be kept in their protective case. Many retainers are lost when temporarily placed in a napkin or tissue and are accidentally thrown out.

It may take a day or two to adjust to a removable retainer. Also, it is normal to experience more saliva in your mouth when getting accustomed to a new retainer.

Always bring the protective case with you in case you need to remove your retainer. If you're wearing a fixed retainer, you will need to take extra time and care brushing the back of your teeth. It is important, as with braces, to brush thoroughly around the wire to avoid calculus buildup. You can still use dental floss, with a floss threader. Avoid using your front teeth for biting hard foods or objects.

Retainers are not always solely for post-orthodontic treatment. Many adults can experience crowding of their teeth later in life. Often, part time or night time retainers can be used to maintain alignment and straight teeth permanently.






We have been voted the among the best in La Jolla, San Diego and Carmel Valley 5 years in a row.
 Thank you for all of your support. 
La Jolla Orthodontics
7575 Eads Avenue Suite #101 
La Jolla, CA 92037 
(858) 459-3353 

Carmel Valley Orthodontics 
12395 El Camino Real Suite #309 
San Diego, CA 92130 
(858) 755-1551 


Robert Sunstein, DDS

Specialist in Orthodontics and 
Dentofacial Orthopedics 



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Straight teeth maintenance - Carmel Valley, CA, Del Mar, Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach, Encinitas, El Camino Real and La Jolla California

Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

© 2016 Dr. Robert A. Sunstein.
Straight teeth for all of San Diego including: Rancho Santa Fe,
Solana Beach, Encinitas, El Camino Real, Village of La Jolla,
Cardiff, Rancho Penasquitos, Torrey Hill, Sorrento Mesa, Fairbanks Ranch,
Sorrento Valley, Mira Mesa, Rancho UCSD, Encinitas,
University City, UTC, Pacific Beach
Close to Zip codes 92126, 92130, 92037, 92109, 92121, 92145,
92110, 92111, 92122, 92117,
92129, 92124, 92123, 92126 and more...


La Jolla :
7575 Eads Avenue Suite #101
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 459-3353
Carmel Valley Orthodontics
12395 El Camino Real Suite #309
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 755-1551




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