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Dental Retainers in San Francisco

Dental retainers are a huge part of orthodontic care for our dental patients. If you are considering orthodontic treatment, you will most likely need to wear retainers after treatment. They will help ensure that your beautiful smile stays in place and doesn’t shift back out of alignment.

If you have any questions regarding retainers and orthodontic treatment, contact our office today to schedule an appointment with our dentist.


What are dental retainers?

Dental retainers are custom-made dental appliances that we use to keep your straight teeth secured and in their proper alignment after completing orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign or braces.

When you have just completed treatment, it can take up to four to six months for your teeth to be firmly set into their new position. This is why wearing a retainer is important, because they help keep your teeth from moving back out of alignment and ensure your orthodontic treatment isn’t a waste of time and money.

Types of Dental Retainers

There are two main types of retainers used following orthodontic treatment – Fixed and Removable retainers.


Fixed Retainer

A fixed retainer is an appliance that stays on the teeth permanently. It can be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic materials. Fixed retainers are placed behind the teeth and are not visible when worn. They are usually bonded directly onto the tooth surface with special adhesive material. The advantage of this type of retainer is that it is not removable, so you never forget to wear it.

Removable Retainer

A removable retainer is a custom-made plastic tray meant to be worn by patients full time for the first 3-6 months following treatment and then while you sleep for the following years after. Some patients prefer removable retainers because they feel more comfortable than fixed retainers.

How long do I have to wear a retainer after orthodontic treatment?

On average, patients will need to wear a retainer for at least 3-6 months following their treatment for at least 22 hours a day. After this time, if you have a removable retainer, you can stick to only wearing it at night when you sleep. Patients can typically wean off wearing their retainer every night after about 12 months.

If you have a fixed appliance, they are made to last and can last up to 20 years. Most patients keep them in place unless their retainer becomes damaged, is causing them pain, or is no longer needed.

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Tips for Caring for Your Retainer

To ensure that your retainer lasts you a long time and stays in good shape, here are some good oral health tips for properly caring for your retainer:

Avoid using toothpaste that contains abrasives.

Store your retainer in its case when not wearing it.

Don't use mouthwash that contains alcohol.

Keep it away from heat sources.

Contact Us for an Appointment

If you have any questions regarding retainers, please reach out to our office today, and we will be happy to help. Dental retainers are a necessity when it comes to maintaining your newly straightened smile.

If you are considering orthodontic treatment, contact our office to schedule a complimentary consultation with our dental team.