Instructions for Wearing Your Retainers

Certainly, as you may be aware, a retainer plays a crucial role in maintaining the results achieved through orthodontic treatment. While you can explore more detailed information about various types of orthodontic retainers and their comparisons during a consultation with our doctor and our team members, we also find it vital to ensure that patients are well-informed about what to expect and how to effectively utilize their retainers.

Contact our office today for your complimentary evaluation at 916-924-8970.

HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WEAR A RETAINER?

You’ll need to wear your retainer consistently unless otherwise directed by your orthodontist.

This emphasis is crucial to prevent orthodontic relapse. As your braces or other orthodontic appliance shifts your teeth, the bone tissue around each tooth adjusts. However, before the bone fully sets and teeth stabilize, there’s a period where teeth can revert to their previous positions.

A retainer serves to prevent this relapse.

If you have a removable retainer, you can take it out during meals, but always remember to store it safely in its case. Many patients misplace their retainers during school or work lunches or while dining out, so it’s essential to keep it secure. Simply wrapping it in a napkin isn’t sufficient and often leads to loss.

HOW DO I CLEAN MY RETAINERS?

To keep your retainers clean, use a toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste, or consider using liquid soap with plenty of water. Regular brushing helps remove any residual food particles, excess saliva, and plaque, preventing unpleasant odors.

While there are orthodontic appliance cleaners available, they should not replace regular brushing. Instead, they can complement your cleaning routine. You can find more information on brushing and flossing during orthodontic treatment here.

Cleaning your retainer thoroughly once a day should suffice. If you have removable retainers, remember to take them out during meals to prevent food debris from accumulating.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I LOSE OR BREAK MY RETAINER?

To ensure the longevity of your retainers, it’s essential to handle them with care. Pet owners, in particular, should be cautious, as pets, especially dogs, may mistake retainers for toys and chew on them. Always store your removable retainers in their case when not in use to prevent any mishaps.

Handle your retainers gently when brushing them. If your retainers break or become lost, contact us promptly to arrange for a replacement. While skipping wearing your retainer for a day may not have immediate consequences, it’s crucial to maintain consistent wear to prevent your teeth from shifting back into misalignment, thus preserving the results of your orthodontic treatment.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUR RETAINERS

As you start wearing your retainers, you may notice some changes in your speech. To adapt more quickly, practice speaking, reading, or even singing aloud.

If your retainers feel too tight or cause discomfort, don’t attempt to adjust them yourself. Instead, contact our office for an adjustment.

Remember to bring your retainer to every appointment with your orthodontist.

It’s essential to remove your retainers during sports, particularly contact sports or swimming, to prevent damage or loss.

Patients with clear plastic retainers such as Essix Retainers or Invisalign® Retainers should avoid using hot water to clean them, as it can deform the appliance. Additionally, refrain from placing the trays on hot surfaces like car dashboards, pockets, or in dishwasher machines to prevent damage or warping.