After a year or two of wearing braces or Invisalign, you’ll finally be free of the brackets, wires, or aligners. However, it’s important to protect that beautiful new smile for the long term by wearing a retainer. Your retainer is easy to use and wear, but you may not know about the best ways to take care of it yet. Here are the best tips on retainer maintenance and care.
Follow Your Dentist’s Instructions for Daily Wear
When patients don’t get the long-term results they want from braces, it’s often because they’ve failed to wear their retainer according to their dentist’s instructions. Some patients need to wear their retainer all the time except for brushing and eating, while others just have to wear their retainer while sleeping.
Every patient is unique, so Dr. Reddick will give you a specific daily retainer wear routine based on your specific needs. Be sure to follow this routine closely — it will pay off in a straight and beautiful smile for the long term.
Store Your Retainer Only in Its Own Case
The number one way that retainers get lost is through improper storage — namely, through wrapping them up in napkins or paper towels while eating. It’s all too easy to toss out that napkin or paper towel, leaving your retainer at the bottom of the trash can.
Another way that people improperly store retainers is by dropping them in a pocket or a purse. Both are bad ideas for a few reasons. It’s too easy to drop your clothes in the wash without checking pockets for stray retainers. Plus, leaving the retainer in a non-sterile environment allows it to pick up dirt, debris, and bacteria that you don’t want anywhere near your mouth.
Every time that you remove your retainer, put it directly in its own retainer case. Dr. Reddick provides you with a retainer case when you’re fit for the retainer, and this case should be considered an important part of the retainer. Try to keep your retainer case in the same place every time you use it. For example, store the case (and the retainer within it) only in a bathroom drawer so you know exactly where it is all the time.
Clean Your Retainer Every Day
Just like you brush your teeth daily, the device that constantly touches your teeth — your retainer — must be cleaned as well. You can clean your retainer in much the same way that you brush your teeth: Use a soft bristle toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste, then rinse it off before allowing it to air dry.
If you make sure to brush and rinse your retainer every day, you’ll avoid transferring bacteria and debris into your mouth. It only takes a few minutes each day to ensure a clean retainer and clean teeth.
Get Regular Check-Ups for Optimal Retainer Results
Just like your braces or aligners were checked regularly to see if they needed adjustments, your retainer should be examined regularly to deliver the best straightening results. Dr. Reddick can do retainer checks during your regular check-ups, and he can also perform any necessary adjustments. If your retainer is too tight, too loose, or isn’t aligned correctly, it could have a negative impact on your teeth in the long term. Eventually, Dr. Reddick may tell you that you don’t have to wear the retainer any longer — but that’s always a decision that should be made by the dentist. You’ve put a lot of time and effort into achieving the straight smile of your dreams, so make sure that you keep up with regular retainer checks to keep that stunning smile.
Need a Supportive and Experienced Orthodontist?
Reddick Orthodontics is owned and operated by Dr. Chad R. Reddick. Dr. Reddick offers all types of orthodontic care including traditional braces, ceramic braces, clear teeth straightening with Invisalign, retainers, surgical orthodontic treatments, oral appliances, and much more. Whether you’re looking for early treatment for your child or you need adult orthodontics for yourself, Dr. Reddick and the Reddick Orthodontics team are here for you. Contact us anytime to arrange a visit with Dr. Reddick.