Dr. Michael C. Hollen
Family Orthodontics

319-236-1777

Retainer Care


Types of retainers we primarily use
We primarily use clear retainers called Stay-Vacs.  There are several benefits to this type of retainer over other previous styles of retainers.  These retainers hold ALL of your teeth in place, it is very durable and is the only retainer that can align your teeth back to their perfect, finished bite should you ever go without and see tooth movement.  Additionally, these retainers can also be used as whitening trays. (please speak with your general dentist on his/her preferences for whiting methods.) 

Like all appliances they require special care to ensure they last for many years to come.   Whenever possible we try to give you two sets.  If anything should happen to the first set, you can go to the second set, which is on the models.  To get a new set of retainers, drop off the models and we will make you a new set.  If there are any chips to the models or if they are broken, we will need to take new impressions in order to make new models.  There is a replacement charge for retainers and models, so please be careful.
Cleaning your retainers
Clean your retainers at least once a day with dish soap and a separate soft bristled tooth brush.  Rinse them before storing, as the saliva can build up if left to dry on your retainers.  Occasionally, it may want to soak them in a cleaning solution.  Select one that is safe for dental appliances (Efferdent or Retainer Bright).  Warm water is fine, but do not use hot water as it can distort the retainer.
Plastic retainers can be damaged by soaking them in mouthwash.
Things that can damage your retainers
Do not chew gum with retainers in.
Remove retainers when drinking hot liquids or eating.
They can be ruined by heat.  Never put a retainer in boiling water, a dishwasher, or on the dashboard of a car. 
Never wrap retainers in a napkin, they are likely to be accidentally thrown away.
Keep retainers beyond the reach of pets and young children.  Dogs and cats will even chew through retainer cases to get to retainers.
Retainers can be broken if placed in a pocket or backpack therefore ALWAYS keep your retainers either in your mouth or in your retainer case.
There is a charge to replace retainers, so please be careful.
Full time retainer wear
When the retainers are being used to move teeth, they need to be worn full time, day and night.  The only time they are to be removed is when you are eating or brushing your teeth.  Dr. Hollen will determine when you will be able to go to night-time wear only.  Brush retainers using dish soap and a separate tooth brush at least once a day.  Please store your retainers in the case while eating.  If the retainer needs any adjustment to fit better, please call our office.  After a meal or snack, rinse food from your teeth when possible before placing your retainers back on your teeth.
Night time retainer wear
It is very important to wear your retainers every night, as this is the only way we have to hold your teeth.  Your teeth will move if the retainers are not worn.  The retainers fit over all your teeth like a cover.

ALWAYS keep your retainers in the case when not wearing them.  Clean retainers using dish soap and a separate soft bristled brush.  Clean them every morning when you remove them and place in the case.  You can occasionally use a denture or retainer cleaner such as Efferdent or Retainer Bright.
I got a crown or a filling, what do I do about my clear retainers?
If you have a tooth repaired and it is a bicuspid or molar, bring your clear retainers with you and have your dentist cut off the retainer from the repaired tooth to the back.  Wear as usual and contact our office for impressions within the next week.