Retainers are a crucial part of orthodontic treatment, because they help maintain the results of your treatment after the braces have been removed. If you neglect to wear your retainer as directed, you can undo all of the straightening and reshaping that the braces have given you. At first, retainers are worn at all times until your teeth have settled into their final alignment, and after that, you will need to wear your retainer at night to help maintain your new smile. Retainers are made of durable material and can last for many many years, when properly cared for. Making them requires great skill and a lot of work so they are expensive to replace when damaged or lost, so you want to do everything possible to keep them in great shape and avoid losing them. Here are some tips for taking care of your retainer so that it will last as long as you need it.
Take your retainer out when you eat
You don’t want to do any chewing or eating when you are wearing your retainer, as this can damage it and be quite uncomfortable. To protect your retainer, you should take it out when you eat and place it in the retainer case until your meal is finished. You should also take your retainer out if you are drinking anything except water. Retainers often get left at the restaurant or school cafeteria. This is why, when you are finished with your meal, remember to put your retainer back in your mouth.
Clean your retainer every day
It is just as important to clean your retainer once a day as it is to floss your teeth every day. This will help keep your retainer and your mouth free of any food, plaque that can become trapped and cause decay. It will also prevent your retainer from developing an unpleasant odor. Simply use a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your container once a day. Make sure the water you use to rinse it is warm, but not hot.
Always store your retainer in a case
When you are not wearing your retainer, it should always be stored in its protective case to prevent damage. Pets have an unfortunate liking for retainers, and they often chew them up. Also, storing the retainer in its case helps keeping it clean. Even if you don’t have pets, your case is important because you could accidentally knock the retainer on the floor where it can be stepped on and destroyed. Remember to also keep your case clean as well. Even if you clean your retainer before storing it, you should clean your case to be safe.
Protect your retainer from heat
The plastic parts of the retainer can easily warp in the heat, which completely ruins it for holding your teeth in the correct position. That is why it is important to clean your retainer carefully and never boil it in hot water. You also want to keep your retainer stored away from extreme heat. Leaving it out in the hot sun, on the dashboard of a hot car, or near anything too hot can ruin it.
These tips will help you keep your retainer in great shape for years, so you won’t have to pay for a new one. Remember, your retainer is vital to keeping your smile in its new shape, and you should always wear it exactly as we instruct you. When you go without your retainer, even for a short time, your teeth can shift out of place. So if your retainer is lost or damaged, call right away to get a replacement set up.