Until Dr. Rahaim directs you to the contrary, continue to wear your retainer at all times.
Remove your retainer from your mouth before eating. And, for safekeeping, always place the retainer into the retainer storage case. (It should be noted that the majority of retainer dental appliances are lost in school cafeterias as well as restaurants.)
You’ve worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!
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
Austin Rahaim, DMD, MS will give you specific instructions on how often you should be wearing your retainer.
Keep retainers away from hot surfaces and hot water
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, hot vehicles and dashboards, and don’t leave it in your pocket or in a napkin that can easily be thrown away.
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, removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. We recommend brushing your retainer once a day with a separate toothbrush and liquid hand soap and rinsing thoroughly. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
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. When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case.
More important retainer instructions
- Wear your retainer at all times, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
- Take your retainer out when eating, and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
- Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
- Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
- Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
- Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
- With proper care and attention, your retainer can last for years, and you won’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon.