We know that hearing our constant refrain of “wear your retainer!” can get tiresome, but your retainer is the key to keeping the beautiful smile that you’ve worked so hard for. You don’t want all that time and effort to be for nothing, right?
To get the most out of your retainer (and avoid expensive replacements), follow these instructions from our orthodontist:
• Your retainer needs to stay in your mouth at all times (other than those specifically noted by your orthodontist).
• Remove your retainer while you are eating and keep it in its case. Watch your retainer carefully and don’t toss it in the trash (this is the number one reason for replacing retainers)!
• Using a toothbrush and toothpaste, clean your retainer daily. The water you use to clean it should be warm but not hot since hot water can warp the plastic. By cleaning your retainer, you’ll remove plaque and bacteria and prevent the retainer from getting smelly. You can also use cleaners like Efferdent, but these do not replace brushing.
• Is your retainer in its case? It should be if it’s not in your mouth! We’ve seen far too many retainers that have been chewed up by pets!
• If you’re finding it tricky to speak with your new retainer, remember that practice makes perfect. Speak, read out loud, or sing frequently so that you can get used to it quickly.
• Retainers are fragile. Please handle yours with care. If you do happen to lose or break your retainer, let us know immediately so that we can get you a replacement. Procrastination will cause your teeth to start shifting back out of alignment.
• Never try to adjust your own retainer. If it feels like it isn’t fitting right, please let us know.
• Bring your retainer with you to each appointment. We’ll want to check the fit to make sure it’s working like it’s supposed to.
• It’s expensive to replace a retainer! We’d prefer that you take good care of yours. When you take good care of your retainer, it can last for years!
• Take out your retainer when you go swimming. Put it in its case!
• Heat damages retainers. Keep your retainer away from all sources of heat, including hot water, car dashboards, and the washing machine and dryer.
• Don’t put your retainer in your pocket.
• Never wrap your retainer in a napkin. It’s far too easy to accidentally throw it out.