Outstanding Service. Outstanding Smiles!

Maintaining – and

Retaining – Your Retainer

The Key to Lasting Smiles: Retention Care at Sonneveld Orthodontics

Welcome to the retention phase of your orthodontic journey with Sonneveld Orthodontics. As we celebrate the moment your braces come off, we also embark on an essential chapter to ensure your smile remains perfectly aligned: the use of retainers. Our team, serving Orland Park, IL and surrounding communities, is dedicated to guiding you through this critical period with custom-tailored retention strategies.

Retainer Maintenance: A Fresh Approach for Oral Health

A retainer is your ally in maintaining orthodontic achievements, but it requires proper care. For removable retainers, we recommend gentle cleaning to keep them bacteria-free. Avoid using toothbrushes on clear aligners to prevent scratches – dedicated cleaning solutions and tablets can be used instead. For fixed retainers, regular brushing, flossing with a threader, and using an interdental brush are key practices to ensure cleanliness and longevity.

Always protect your retainer by storing it in its case when not in use. Direct heat can distort its shape, so be sure to keep it cool and secure. With diligent care, your retainer will continue to support your new smile for years to come.

Time to Adjust

The transition to wearing a retainer is seamless for most patients, although initial increased salivation and speech adjustments are common and temporary. The freedom to remove your retainer for eating and dental hygiene is a welcomed convenience, eliminating dietary restrictions and simplifying cleaning routines.

Initially, consistent wear of your retainer is crucial – full time wear is required for a couple of weeks. Gradually, you’ll shift to night-time wear.

Time to Adjust

Retention Therapy With

Your Orland Park, IL Orthodontist

Why Retention Matters

After orthodontic treatment, teeth can shift back to their original positions without a retainer, undoing your hard work. Periodontal ligaments, which hold teeth in place, need time to stabilize in their new alignment. Wearing a retainer as directed is the only way to preserve the alignment and ensure your investment in a beautiful smile lasts.


Types of Retainers

There are three basic types of retainers available, each one suited to a particular situation. The most common is the “Hawley” retainer – a thin, tongue-shaped piece of molded acrylic with a wire that holds your teeth in position. The Hawley retainer is simple, durable, and easily removable – it’s even customizable with different colors and designs for the plastic arch. If necessary, it can also be adjusted to correct minor tooth movements.

Another popular style of retainer is the clear aligner, which looks similar to the Invisalign system. These retainers are made of thin, transparent plastic, designed to fit precisely over your teeth. The main advantage to these is that they’re virtually invisible – no wire to show. While they’re also easy to put in and take out, they’re somewhat less durable than Hawleys and are not recommended for patients with certain conditions, like teeth grinding.

Finally, fixed retainers can be an option for some people, particularly on the lower front teeth. As their name suggests, these retainers aren’t removable – but they aren’t visible either. Just like lingual braces, these retainers use a wire bonded to the tongue-side of the teeth. They may remain in place for months or longer, and are usually used when there’s a high risk that teeth could revert to their former position. Don’t worry, though – while these retainers are permanent, they won’t be visible like your braces were!

Tinley Park Orthodontist


Tinley Park Orthodontist

At the office of Dr. Thomas C. Sonneveld, our mission is to provide you with the highest quality orthodontic care possible in a fun, friendly environment. We strive to use the latest innovations in orthodontic technology, including Invisalign and non-traditional braces, to offer you the absolute best treatment in the most convenient way possible. At our practice, we understand that the success of orthodontic treatment isn’t just about what happens during treatment – it’s about what happens after as well.

Contact Your

Tinley Park, IL Orthodontist

If you have more questions about retention or your orthodontic health, feel free to reach out to us on our Contact page or request an appointment at our Orland Park, IL practice. We can’t wait to hear from you!