Anne J. Yoon DDS MS Orthodontist

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Retainers   arrow


Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 9.08.39 AMWhy do I have to wear my retainers after my teeth are straight? 

  • Your retainers are custom designed to maintain the stability of your new smile.  After the teeth have moved, and the surrounding bone has stabilized, the gum tissue surrounding each tooth takes an additional 4-6 months to remodel and stabilize around the new position of our teeth.

  • If the retainers aren’t worn consistently during this important window of time right after the braces are removed, the teeth will never be able to gain full stability, and are more likely to move back.

  • Read more  and here, from the American Association of Orthodontists.

How often do I have to wear my retainers?


  • Typically we ask that you wear your retainers full time for the first 4-6 months, and then at nights thereafter.  If you ever feel that your retainers are feeling a bit tighter, then go back to full time wear until they become passive again.

  • If your retainers aren’t in your mouth, ensure that they are in their proper case – not wrapped in a napkin, as this often results in lost retainers.


Hawley Retainers



Hawleys are still our standard retainers, and a great option for the majority of our patients.  They last a life-time if they are well maintained and taken care of.  The front metal bow is adjustable, allowing the orthodontist to make small corrections to the alignment of your front teeth if needed.  They are easy to wear and remove, and our patients enjoy that they can custom design the color, pattern and text on their own personalized retainers.



  • Handle your retainers by the U shaped hooks on on the sides, rather than the front wire- which will cause distortion in the retainer over time.


  • Do not play with the retainer with your tongue- this will also cause distortion & prevent the retainer from seating correctly over time.


  • Retainers can warp in excessive heat:  Please do not soak your retainers in hot water or keep them in a warm car or next to a hot oven/stove.


  • Keep your retainers away from your pets, they love to chew on them!



  • Cleaning your retainers regularly is important to keep plaque and bacteria from building up (and becoming smelly!).  To clean your retainers simply rinse them under water and brush them gently with a toothbrush & a non-abrasive toothpaste as needed.


  • You can also purchase retainer cleaners from drugstores or from your orthodontist as needed.


  • Remember that retention is just as important as braces in keeping your smile beautiful & straight



Clear Retainers


Clear retainers may be worn instead of standard Hawley retainers for patients either desiring a more invisible retainer option, or for patients who tend to clench or grind at night – as they can protect your enamel from further wear.

While clear retainers are generally more aesthetic – they often need to be replaced after anywhere from about one to up to seven or eight years – depending on any habits you may have, and your diligence with maintaining proper care of your retainers.



To keep your retainers clean, please regularly rinse them in cold water and gently brush them as needed (with a little toothpaste).  You may also need to periodically soak them in retainer cleaners if they are accumulating build-up.  Please also keep your retainers away from heat to prevent distortion, as well as from your pets – they love to chew on them.

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