Now that you are finished…

We highly recommend you see your dentist for an exam and cleaning and…

After your braces are removed, or aligner treatment has been finished, the retention phase of treatment begins.  Retainers are so important. The only way to guarantee that your teeth stay straight is by having retainers for a lifetime. Dr Couser prefers to place top and bottom permanent retainers when possible. There a some specific cases where it is not possible. In these cases wearing a removable retainer every night for the rest of your life is your only option. It is not realistic to ask someone to wear a removable retainer every night for the rest of your life but sometimes this is the only option. Dr Couser does two retainer checks after you have completed orthodontic treatment. One check is done six weeks after treatment is completed and the other is done three months after this. These are important appointments so that Dr Couser can assure you that your retainers are stable. Once released from supervised retention, retainer appointments will no longer be scheduled.  However, we are always available upon request.

We have done everything possible to give you long term stability
for your teeth. It is now up to you to keep them straight!

Always Remember: Retainers Are Your Friend!

 Why are retainers so important?

As teeth are moved during treatment, there are changes that occur in the bone and fibers attached to the teeth. These changes cause teeth to become slightly loose. When orthodontics is discontinued this “looseness” still exists. This creates an unstable condition in which teeth can move slightly in all directions.


Over a period of several months, bone begins to “solidify” or “firm up” around the roots of teeth resulting in increasing stability. Retainers, or other retention devices, are necessary to hold teeth straight while this occurs. If retainers are not worn during this critical period, teeth are likely to move out of alignment and require retreatment to re-align them.  Even after this critical time, everyone has individual levels of orthodontic stability.  While some people rarely need retainers to maintain alignment, others find that nightly retainer wear is required indefinitely to avoid unwanted movement of their teeth.


As the years go by you will notice facial changes occurring which have been genetically predetermined. These changes sometimes have an effect on the stability of your teeth. If you notice any changes, please call us so that corrections can be made while they are still minor. The longer you wait to contact our office, the more difficult the adjustments will be and may even require additional orthodontic treatment.


Retainer Instructions

  • Removable retainers should be worn 24 hours a day for the first 3 months after orthodontic movement is finished. If retainers are worn as instructed, the retainer wear can usually be reduced to 12 hours a day after the next appointment.

  • Take your retainers out when eating or drinking (except water)…and always put retainers in their case!  Most retainers are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.

  • Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with liquid dish/hand soap and a toothbrush.  Use warm but not hot water. This will remove the plaque, and eliminate odors.

  • When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!

  •  Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to speaking with them in faster.

  • Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.   If broken, please bring your retainer with you when you come to the office.

  • Always bring your retainers to your appointments.

  • Retainer replacement is expensive… with proper care they can last for years!

  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.

  • Retainers may need to be adjusted after new fillings or crowns are placed.

Essix – Removable clear retainer

  • Don’t brush the retainer with toothpaste.  It dulls the brilliance.

  • If an edge of the retainer rubs your gums, trim with scissors or file and smooth with an emery board very carefully.

  • Wear the retainer during sport activities.  It makes an excellent mouth guard!


Hawley – Removable retainer with plastic behind the teeth & wire in front of teeth

  • Do not flip the retainer with your tongue, as this weakens the wire and can break.

  • Always remove your retainers with your fingers by pulling on the loops.

  • Seat it by pushing with the thumb on the roof of the mouth- don’t bite it into place.


Fixed Retainers- Wire glued behind the teeth

  • These retainers all break eventually, it is just a matter of time.  When this occurs, contact the office where we can determine if it can be repaired, needs to be replaced, or it is time to remove entirely.  The following guidelines will help make these retainers last as long as possible.

  • There are some limitations on the foods you are allowed to eat.  Eating restrictions with these types of retainers are similar to braces.  Biting into hard, chewy, or sticky foods with the front teeth can break off the retainer and should be avoided.

  •  Flossing your teeth is similar to flossing with braces on. You cannot snap the floss between your teeth. You must thread the floss under the wire.

  • Please remind your dentist and/or hygienist ahead of time that you have this type of retainer when your teeth are cleaned.

Request A Complimentary Consultation or Call (801) 544-9191