What You Need to Know About Caring for Your Retainer
After getting your braces off, you may have a few questions and may also be wondering what happens next.
You’ve put a lot of time and investment into your teeth, and the work doesn’t stop once the brackets come off. The next step in caring for your smile is to wear a retainer to maintain what your braces have accomplished.
We know, we know – it can be very easy to forgo this necessary step of the braces journey. But at Meyer Orthodontics, we strongly encourage all of our Brookings patients to stick to the plan! Don’t underestimate the importance of wearing your retainer.
Here’s what you need to know!
Why You Need a Retainer
As your bone tissue rebuilds around the new positions of your teeth, your retainer stabilizes the tissue. Your bone tissue is soft at first, but even after it has solidified, teeth can still move.
That’s because the bones in your mouth are constantly at work, breaking down and rebuilding – especially now that you can eat harder and crunchier foods. A retainer, when worn as prescribed, is the best tool available to minimize movement.
We’ve previously shared more in-depth information on the types of retainers and specifics of how they work.
Once you understand the importance of this orthodontic step, you’ll need to know how to care for it.
Storing Your Retainer
- When you leave our Brookings office with your new retainer, we’ll give you a case to keep it in. When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should be in this case. This will help prevent breaking or losing it.
- Don’t be careless. Simply dropping your retainer in your bag or pocket could damage it.
- A common problem we see is when patients accidentally throw away their retainer. Don’t wrap it in a napkin while eating! You’ll forget it’s there and you may end up sorting through garbage!
- You may not love your retainer – but your dog probably does. Keep it out of your pet’s reach, because they might think it’s a chew toy!
- Your retainer can melt if it’s left in heat, so avoid leaving it in a hot car or near a heater.
Cleaning Your Retainer
We’ll give you instructions specific to the type of retainer you have. If you have a removable retainer, you can brush it with toothpaste and/or use an effervescent cleanser.
If you have a permanent retainer, you can still brush and floss it, but you may find inter-proximal brushes to be helpful.
Keep in mind, that if you have a clear removable retainer, it’s best to avoid drinking liquids while wearing it (although water is okay!) Drinks such as juice or coffee can stain your retainer as well as your teeth.
Keep in Touch
Bring your retainer with you each time you visit us in Brookings, and be sure to contact us if it’s lost, broken, or ill-fitting.
It’s up to you to care for and wear your retainer, and that’s why we give you all of the information you need to be successful with this part of the orthodontic process.
And remember, if you’re in the Brookings or Madison area, you can see us for a free orthodontic consultation today.