It’s not just our teeth that need attention. To maintain a healthy smile, we need to pay attention to what’s happening lower on the line of the gums. A retainer is a device that is inserted into your mouth to physically prevent your teeth from shifting back into an improper position so they will grow straight and not start moving too soon.
Inserting and Removing Your Retainer
The most important thing to remember when wearing a retainer is to keep it in place! Your retainer instructions may be to only wear it at night, only during the day, or 24/7 except for eating and brushing your teeth. Leaving your retainer out for too long can allow your teeth to start to shift back into their pre-corrected positions as quickly as overnight. This can lead to the retainer feeling “tight” or causing the same aches and pains as when you were going through orthodontic treatments.
Whenever you take out your retainer, keep it in a safe place like a portable case to ensure you don’t misplace it or, as often happens when eating out, throwing it away along with the rest of your trash.
How Often Should I Wear My Retainer?
The frequency with which you wear your retainer depends on several factors, including your age and how long it has been since you had any orthodontic treatment. The average person wears their retainer for 8 to 12 hours a day, but this may increase if your teeth start moving too soon. Dr. Swan will let you know how long you will need to wear your retainer daily, typically requiring about a year of retainer use following orthodontia.
How Do I Store My Retainer?
Swan Orthodontics provides a simple retainer case with each retainer, although many people opt for more than one to ensure they always have a place to secure their retainer. It is important that you do not leave them in the hot sun; plastic retainers are prone to becoming soft and potentially reshaping when heated, and they can be damaged if they come into contact with very hot water.
When Should I Replace My Retainer?
Your retainer is made from durable materials, but not everyone makes it through their orthodontia without an accident or damage to the retainer. If you notice a crack, chip, or break in your retainer, order a replacement to ensure it doesn’t hurt your mouth or produce an unintended result from orthodontic treatment.
Retainer Care Consultation
As long as you take care of it properly and wear it every day, a retainer will provide you with excellent teeth alignment for years to come. Accidents happen, however, and we’re here to help if you need us. Read our retainer wear and care guide for more specific information. Call or contact Swan Orthodontics online and schedule an appointment to ensure you or your child have the quality retainer and orthodontic treatments they need.