Smiles For A Lifetime!

Congratulations on your beautiful new smile! You’ve worked so hard and avoided so many sweet, crunchy foods to get here. To ensure that all of the time and sacrifice that you put into your smile journey was worth it, it is very important to wear your retainers! The retention phase of orthodontic treatment is every bit as important as the treatment phase.

Why Do I Need Retainers?

Your teeth are surrounded by a network of fibers (periodontal ligament) and soft tissues (gums) that take time to adjust to their new position. Depending on the degree of movement, this adaptation period can take years. Because of this, your teeth will want to move back to where they were initially – we call this “relapse”. The potential for relapse does decrease gradually over time, however it never fully goes away. Significant rotations, spacing, and open bites present some of the highest risks of relapse. Additionally, natural changes to the position of our teeth occur as we age, such as crowding of the lower front teeth, if they aren’t prevented.

This means that retainers are SUPER important! Your retainers are not only preventing relapse, but also preventing natural changes in the position of your teeth as you age. Lifetime retention will be necessary to prevent these changes. 

A set of retainers is included with your orthodontic treatment! We will use our intraoral 3D scanner to take a digital impression of your teeth, 3D print models of your teeth, and then use those to make your custom retainers. At retainer delivery, we will make sure you have all the tools and information you need to make the retention phase of your treatment a breeze! 

Keep in mind that retainers do need to be replaced periodically. After treatment, we recommend nightly retainer wear for life. That’s a long time! It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN you will need a new retainer.

Smile Security Program

Our “Smile Security Program” will give you peace of mind that the investment you made in your smile is protected. 

For a one-time fee of $550, which can be included with our flexible treatment financing, this program offers 5 YEARS of retainer coverage (up to 4 clear retainers per year). Simply bring us the 3D printed models you received at the end of treatment and we will make your new retainers at no additional cost.

Lost your models? Haven’t worn your retainers as well as you should have and your teeth have moved? No problem! We will take a new scan of your teeth and/or print new models so we can make you a new set of retainers that will allow you to start maintaining your smile again. There is a $25 per retainer fee if a new scan or models are needed.

Already finished treatment but want to join our Smile Security Program? We’ve got you! For a one-time fee of $650, we will take a scan of your teeth, print your models, and get you going with a fresh set of retainers!

To make this an even better deal, 3 tubes of professional quality whitening gel are included when you enroll in our Smile Security Program!

**Without Smile Security, replacement of a set of retainers starts at $300, which can add up quickly.


Can I include the Smile Security Program enrollment fee with the financing of my orthodontic treatment fee?

Absolutely! We actually encourage this so that it can be included with our flexible financing and fit into your monthly budget.

Are Hawley (traditional) or fixed (“permanent”) retainers included in the Smile Security Program?

No, only clear plastic retainers are included in this program.

What if I want a Hawley retainer instead of a clear retainer at the end of my treatment?

We’d be happy to make you a set of Hawley retainers at the end of your treatment instead. There is no additional fee for this, however it is important to inform Dr. Bates if this is your preference. Dr. Bates recommends clear retainers for most cases however due to their precise fit, comfort, and better retention of teeth that were initially crowded or spaced.

How long do clear plastic retainers usually last?

This varies from patient to patient. We like to say that clear plastic retainers last 2-3 years on average. In patients that grind their teeth heavily at night, clear plastic retainers may not last quite as long. If you take good care of your retainers and follow our instructions for removing them from your mouth, then they can last much longer. We care deeply about the maintenance of your treatment results and only use the highest quality material available when fabricating our clear retainers.

What if I am a grinder?

If you are wearing through your retainers at an accelerated rate, Dr. Bates will typically recommend having a custom night guard made either at our office or by your regular dentist. A night guard can maintain the position of your teeth while also offering increased durability and protection of your teeth.

How do I clean my clear retainers?

We recommend rinsing them with cold or lukewarm water as soon as you remove them from your mouth. After this use a toothbrush and water to gently scrub the inside and outside of the retainer, then rinse again. Toothpaste should be avoided when cleaning your retainers because it scratches them and this results in a cloudier appearance and increased tendency to retain build up. The goal is to not let saliva or food dry on your retainers!

An ultrasonic cleaning pod, denture cleaning tablets, or some good ol’ dish soap on your toothbrush are other helpful cleaning methods.

Do clear plastic retainers contain BPA, phthalate, gluten, or latex?

Nope! Our retainers are BPA, phthalate, gluten, and latex free!

Does Dr. Bates place fixed retainers?

Yes! Though Dr. Bates does not routinely place fixed retainers for all of his patients, he does place them when he feels it is clinically indicated or if you request one.

A fixed retainer is often mislabeled as a permanent retainer which is not accurate. These retainers are wires that are bonded to the inside of your teeth. As with anything bonded to the teeth, there is a risk of debonding during eating of certain foods, flexure of the teeth during grinding/clenching, or if your teeth are more mobile due to a history of bone loss (periodontal disease). Lower fixed retainers generally are about twice as successful as upper fixed retainers bonded to just the two front teeth. As more teeth are added to upper fixed retainers, the failure rate increases substantially.

Regardless of whether or not a fixed retainer is placed, you will be instructed to wear upper AND lower removable retainers nightly. This is because we consider fixed retainers as a back-up form of retention on the most unstable teeth. If your fixed retainer breaks and you are unaware of it, your teeth may move. Additionally, we worked hard to precisely position ALL of your teeth, not just the teeth that the fixed retainer is attached to, and as such we want to maintain the position of all the teeth. 

Dr. Bates will not place a fixed retainer if maintaining proper oral hygiene has not been demonstrated.

We will repair fixed retainers at no charge for up to 1 year following your treatment. After this, there is a small repair fee, or removal fee if you wish to have it removed.

Are retainers free if I enroll in the Smile Security Program?

As long as you’ve been wearing your retainers as instructed and you bring in the 3D models that we provided you at the end of your treatment, we will fabricate up to 4 clear retainers per year at no additional cost (4 retainers = $600 value).

What if I want more than 4 retainers in a year?

No problem! The cost for each additional retainer is $150 or $300 per set of retainers.

What if I lose my 3D models?

If new models are necessary, an additional fee of $25 per retainer will apply.

What if I didn’t wear my retainers and my teeth shifted?

No problem! We will take a new scan of your teeth, 3D print new models, and make you a new set of retainers to maintain the position of your teeth at time of scan. By definition, “retainers” retain the position of your teeth as opposed to moving them like a series of aligners would.

If you’re interested in re-treatment, Dr. Bates would be happy to evaluate what this would entail. A retreatment fee consistent with the complexity of retreatment will be given. In most cases of minor relapse, our patients are surprised to know how quickly and affordably this can be corrected. 

If I lose my retainer(s), how soon should I contact the office for replacement?

As soon as possible! The longer you wait, the more likely that your teeth will start to move in the direction of their initial position and your teeth will no longer match the 3D models you were given at the end of your treatment.

If I need a new scan, how soon afterwards do I need to pick up and begin wearing my new retainers?

No longer than one week after the scan in most cases!

What happens if I get a new crown, veneer, implant, filling, etc. in the future?

Due to the precise fit of clear retainers, we recommend taking a new scan after any changes to the anatomy of your teeth. Because new models will be necessary, an additional fee of $25 per retainer will apply.

We encourage you to request that your restorative dentist take a scan of your teeth after any changes to their anatomy and email it to us. This allows us to get started on making your new retainer and saves you a visit to our office for a new scan. We will just need to see you once to deliver your new retainer.

What happens if I move out of the area? Can I still get retainers with the program?

Yes! If you’ve been wearing your retainers as instructed and therefore your teeth still are in the same final position as they were at the end of your treatment, then we can simply print new models and mail you your new retainers. We simply request that you inform us of any fit issues within 1 week of receiving them. If we do not hear from you, we will consider them to have fit well. This is why we recommend always having a back-up set of retainers! That way you can order any new retainers while still having retainers to wear. In the event that retainers that we mail to you do not fit due to your teeth no longer matching their final position at the end of treatment, then we recommend either returning for a new scan, or consulting an orthodontist in your area for new retainers (they will very likely assess a fee for any new retainers you need).

If I move out of the area can I pause my 5 years or get a partial refund?

No, the enrollment fee is a one-time, non-refundable fee, and the 5 year period of enrollment cannot be paused.

Can I re-enroll after my 5 years are over?

Of course! Just contact our office and we will get you set up again.