Once the hard work of straightening your teeth is completed, the next phase of your orthodontic treatment begins: keeping your teeth aligned with a retainer! You don’t want any setbacks after taking the time to get them straightened. This means wearing your retainer as prescribed by our orthodontists. It will allow bone tissue to rebuild around the teeth and keep the teeth from shifting when you bite, chew, swallow and speak.
Whether your removable retainer is made of acrylic or clear plastic, it will need care and protection to ensure it keeps your teeth in their newly aligned position.
This simple step can’t be overemphasized. Wearing your retainer is the only thing that will keep your teeth from shifting back into their pre-treatment, unaligned position. Whether you need to wear it all day or just at night, be sure you follow the instructions given to you by your orthodontist.
Keep It Clean
It’s not just your pearly whites that need cleaning; your retainer also needs to be germ and bacteria-free! You can brush it with your soft-bristled toothbrush when you brush and floss your teeth. Soak or rinse the retainer using a denture-cleaning tablet.
Take It Out Before Eating
You will need to wear your removable retainer as prescribed, except when you eat. Retainers are not made for chewing (unless they are permanent). This allows you to eat your favorite foods without harming the appliance as removal helps to keep oral debris from hiding behind your retainer and getting stuck there.
Keep your removable retainer in its container when it’s not in your mouth. You don’t want to lose it (that’s expensive), nor do you want to accidentally throw it away after dining out, or putting it someplace where it will pick up germs and bacteria, like letting your dog chew it.
Because of the material, an acrylic or plastic retainer can be warped or damaged by high heat. This means it is important to clean it with warm – not hot – water. Do not clean it in boiling water, the dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, dryer, or leave it in the car on a hot day.
Wear a Sports Guard
Don’t wear your retainer when you’re playing contact or high impact sports. Wear a sports guard to protect your teeth and oral tissues. Just be sure to put your retainer back on after playing. (Ask us about sports guards in our office!)
Bottom line: always wear your retainer and take good care of it, and it will take care of you! If you have any problems with your retainer, let our orthodontists know right away. It shouldn’t be loose or tight but should fit just right. Whenever you come in for follow-up visits, bring it with you to be checked.