San Francisco, CA

Do I Really Need a Retainer?

Orthodontic patients want to celebrate the day their braces are removed, and for good reason. Months of hard work have paid off with a beautifully new, straight smile. But, just because the braces are off, that doesn’t mean the work is over.

Retainer Types

Essix Retainers

Essix retainers, in particular, are clear, slim molds that fit over your teeth. Your orthodontist

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Retainers Type

Fixed Retainers

Permanent or fixed retainers are made of a metal wire that is glued to your teeth. Usually, this wire is smooth and solid or has a braided texture.

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What Our Patients Say

Great team here at Cucalon! They fast tracked a straighter smile for me just in time for my wedding. After, Dr. Cucalon, knew we could get my teeth even straighter, so we started a couple refining rounds and I couldn’t be happier. They are a passionate group and serious about results.

Cate M.

Invisalign Patient

Dr. Cucalon is great. Amazing demeanor and approach and has built a great team around him. Has done excellent work for my whole family

Brian Carr

Family Ortho Patients

Cucalon Orthodontics is first class all the way. It has been our experience with all four of our children to be professionally taken care of with a super friendly staff. The office is innovative and efficient. Dr. Cucalon and his staff are cutting edge. All four of our kids have beautiful smiles thanks to Cucalon Orthodontics.

Dan S.

Children Braces
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Frequently Asked Questions

Retainers are an important component of your orthodontic treatment. They do just what the name implies – retain the teeth after they have been moved. This is important because, to move the teeth, the bones and tissues that surround them have to loosen them to allow them to move to their new locations. But just because the braces have worked to move the teeth there doesn’t mean the teeth will automatically stay there once the braces come off. The ligaments and tissues of the mouth are elastic, and will have tendency to try to pull the teeth back to their previous locations. A retainer will prevent that. 

Just as with your braces, the amount of time you’ll need to wear your retainer will be dependent on your individual case. To ensure your new smile, it is important to wear your retainer exactly as directed by your orthodontist. 

Most patients will need to wear their retainers 24 hours a day for the first several months, only taking the retainer out to eat, brush and floss. Once the mouth has adjusted, your orthodontist may alter your wear schedule, and for many it may only be worn at night. But to prevent relapse, retainer wear may need to continue indefinitely using permanent retainers.

If you don’t wear your retainer as you should, you may find that your teeth will start to shift. It is possible to be able to feel a shift in the bite, and if it continues, you may even notice slight spacing issues. If this happens, it is important to wear your retainer again, as directed by your orthodontist. 

If your retainer no longer fits as it should, it may be because your teeth have shifted due to not wearing the retainer as you should. If this happens, call your orthodontist right away. Your orthodontist can adjust your retainer, or make you a new one, to ensure the hard work you’ve already put in doesn’t go to waste. 

Your retainer is a crucial component in your orthodontic treatment. The months you spent in braces have given you a straight, beautiful smile that you no doubt are excited to show off. But to ensure it stays as perfect as the day your braces were removed, wear your retainer exactly as your orthodontist recommends.