When orthodontic treatment is complete, patients are fitted with retainers. One popular retainer type is clear plastic, snap over your teeth style retainer. Wearing retainers in many ways is more important than the braces themselves as it is the retainer which will “hold” the teeth in their new position…much like a cast is used on a broken arm or leg.
The responsibility for wearing the retainer falls squarely upon the you, the patient. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. Failure to wear the retainer as directed may result in some relapse of the teeth toward their former positions.
Here are some tips on retainer wear and care…
- Wear your retainer every night or as directed by the orthodontist. This is very important because your teeth could shift!
- Brush your retainer just as you do your teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste, every morning so that your saliva does not dry in it.
Please do not soak your retainer in any denture cleaners or mouthwash containing alcohol as these chemicals can alter the color and damage or weaken the retainer.
- Do not put your retainer in hot water, in the dish washer, or leave it on your dashboard of your car in the heat. It will distort the material and the retainer won’t fit.
- Retainers may break under pressure so do not chew on ice, hard candy, etc. with your retainer in your mouth.
- When your retainer is not in your mouth, keep it in the retainer case and in a safe place.
- Pets love to eat retainers, so always put the retainer away when it is not in your mouth.
- If your retainer breaks or doesn’t fit correctly, call our office immediately.
- If your retainer starts to irritate you lips or gums you can try to file the edge with a finger nail file.
- To remove your retainer, pull down on the sides.
- To insert your retainer, line the retainer up with your teeth and gently push into place.
- You may talk funny, have a little discomfort, and even extra saliva for a day or two. This is a normal.
What if I loose or break my retainer?
The loss or breakage of the retainer requires new impressions, new appliance fabrication, and further appointments so call our office and get on the schedule before your teeth move in the wrong direction, which they may do.