Getting your braces removed is an exciting time; you’re finally able to see and show off your new smile! But even though your teeth look straight and healthy, you will still be required to wear a retainer to ensure they remain in place.
You may be thinking that a retainer seems pointless. You just spent all this time wearing braces, why would you need to wear another appliance afterward?
Retainers are vital for the health of your teeth after braces. Although braces have shifted your teeth into a healthier position, the gum fibers around them have memory from when your teeth were misaligned, and without a retainer, the teeth could begin to move back. There are other variables that contribute to tooth shifting, such as muscle tone of tongue, bone volume around teeth, and the overall tonicity of your chewing muscles.
A retainer keeps your teeth from moving out of place and ensures proper position for years to come. Even if you have optimal dental health, our office recommends some type of retainer wear for life. Everything in life requires maintenance, and keeping your teeth straight is no different.
Always wear your retainer
Your orthodontist will give you specific instructions on how often you should be wearing your retainer, but most patients are required to wear it eight hours each night.
Keep retainers away from hot surfaces
Your retainer is effective because your orthodontist has molded it to fit your mouth precisely, but that also means your retainer can easily change form if it comes in contact with a hot surface. A retainer that doesn’t fit is uncomfortable and can affect the alignment of your teeth. Be sure to keep it away from hot water and washing machines, and don’t leave it in a hot vehicle.
Clean your retainer regularly
Brushing your retainer is just as important as brushing your teeth on a daily basis. Cleaning your retainer allows you to remove much of the food debris left over that could potentially harm your teeth. We recommend brushing your retainer once a day with a separate toothbrush and liquid hand soap and rinsing thoroughly.
Keep retainers away from pets
Pets often look at retainers as chew toys, so be sure to keep yours out of reach of any dogs, cats or other animals you may have at home. They can easily grab your retainer and chew it to a point where it no longer fits your teeth.
With proper care and attention, your retainer can last for years, and you won’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon.
If you would like more information about retainer care or would like to have an exam to make new retainers contact Charleston Orthodontic Specialists at 843-642-8100 and schedule an appointment.