Retainer & Expander Instructions

Retainers and Expanders are very important parts of your orthodontic treatment plan. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully, to help them be as effective as possible!

Retainer Instructions

  • Wear your retainer at all times, until the orthodontist instructs otherwise.
  • Take your retainer out when eating, always be sure to put it right back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.)
  • Clean your retainer thoroughly every day with a toothbrush and toothpaste, using warm (but not hot) water. This removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. You can also use Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners, but they do not take the place of brushing.
  • When you take your retainer out of your mouth, you should put it in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • At first, you might find it difficult to speak while wearing your retainer. In private, practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get accustomed to it.
  • Retainers are breakable, be very careful with them. If you break or lose your retainer, call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or if your retainer needs to be adjusted, give us a call. Do not try to adjust your retainer yourself.
  • Always bring your retainer to your orthodontic appointments.
  • Replacing your retainer is expensive. But with proper care, your retainer can last for years!
  • Remove your retainer while swimming.
  • Keep your retainer away from heat: hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, and the washing machine, for example.

Removable Expander Instructions

Wear your expander full time. That means all day, during meals, and while sleeping.

Remove your expander only to clean it and when you brush your teeth. Brush your expander at least 2 times a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Fixed Expander Instructions

Turn your expansion screws as instructed by your orthodontist. To do so, insert the key into the hole and turn toward the arrow. If you are unable to keep a scheduled appointment at our office, stop turning the expander until you are able to make it back in.

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