Retainers allow you to maintain the beautiful smile that your orthodontic treatment achieved. You worked hard to care for your teeth during your treatment, and retainers work to help you keep those results.
Once you’re fitted with a retainer, it’s important to remember these 3 main keys to a comfortable and enjoyable retainer experience:
1. Wear Your Retainers as Instructed
It’s simple: if you don’t wear your retainers, they don’t work. For retainers to successfully maintain your beautiful orthodontic results and the alignment of your teeth, wear your retainer as recommended by your orthodontist. Typically, after the removal of braces, there is a short period of full-time wear that helps to ensure that your teeth are stable in their new positions.
After this short period, patients can start to wear their retainers at night time only. Simply put them in at night, and take them out in the morning – like pajamas for your teeth. Always remember, your retainers will only work if you wear them!
2. Keep Your Retainers Clean
As you continue to maintain your beautiful smile with retainers, it’s important to ensure that your retainers are clean. The retainers should be cleaned every day and rinsed regularly. To clean your retainers effectively, brush them thoroughly, but gently, making sure that you’re reaching all the nooks and crannies. Brushing too hard can cause the retainer to torque and crack.
A great method for keeping retainers clean is using a retainer soak, such as Retainer Brite. This tablet is placed into lukewarm water which will cause to foam. At this point, place your retainers in the soak for 20 minutes, then rinse and brush. Retainer Brite works to kill germs and eliminate deposits which can build up on your retainers.
To keep your retainers clean, you must make sure that your teeth are clean when you put your retainers on. When you’re wearing your retainers full-time, a clean mouth is especially important. Always brush your teeth before putting your retainers back in, whether it’s after a snack, a meal, or when you wake up in the morning. A good oral hygiene routine helps to keep your teeth healthy and your retainers clean.
3. Keep Your Retainers Safe
When your retainers are not in use, make sure that they’re in their case. Retainers are an investment, and taking the time to make sure that they’re safe will help you preserve their effectiveness. Don’t leave them in your pocket, wrapped up in a napkin, or sitting on the counter. Many patients damage or destroy their retainers simply by not keeping them in their case, allowing them to be stepped on, thrown away, or even chewed up by their dog. Although accidents do happen, they occur far less frequently for patients who consistently place their retainers in their case when not in use.
As you’re wearing your retainers, you need to realize that retainers don’t last forever and will require some maintenance. The rate of repair or replacement varies from patient to patient, but there are warning signs that retainers might need some maintenance, including:
- Cracking or chipping of the retainer itself.
- The retainer feels too loose or too tight.
If you want to keep your teeth aligned, you must continue to wear your retainers. As a long-term commitment, they’ll need to be regularly replaced over time to maintain a beautiful smile. If you have any questions about your retainer, best care practices, or their condition, contact your orthodontist.
At DaBell Orthodontics, we understand the investment that our patients are making in their oral health. We strive to provide orthodontic care that is comfortable, easy, and enjoyable. Contact us today to request a free consultation to discuss your orthodontic treatment!