Once you’ve gone to the time and expense of having orthodontic treatment, the last thing you want to do is have it all for nothing! That’s why you should follow your orthodontist’s instructions for wearing your retainers, which are used to prevent your teeth from moving back to their previous positions after your orthodontic appliances have been removed.
What are retainers?
Retainers hold our teeth in place while they settle into their ultimate position. Most patients are required to wear both upper and lower retainers. Upper retainers are made of hard plastic and wire, fit into the roof of your mouth, and are removable. Lower retainers consist of wire, and may be removable or glued permanently to the lower teeth.
How much should I wear them?
Retainers are usually worn full time for the first several months, except while eating. Eventually you will only wear the retainer while sleeping, and often you’ll complete wearing your retainer within one year if you stick to your orthodontist’s recommendations.
How do I care for my retainer?
Retainers fit directly against your teeth, so a clean retainer helps with clean teeth and better breath. When you brush your teeth, you should also brush your retainer. Rinse it with water and then replace it into your mouth. Once it’s in place, try not to flip the device with your tongue because that often leads to a broken retainer.
What if I take my retainer out?
Except during cleaning, the best place for your retainer is in your mouth. It’s usually a hassle to get them replaced, so it’s important to take care of your retainers. Follow these tips:
• Don’t wrap your retainers in a napkin, because they can be easily thrown away.
• Don’t put your retainers in your pocket or loose in your purse, because they may be broken.
• Don’t leave your retainers sitting around for children or pets to access.