Taking Care of Your Retainer and Your Aligned Smile

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After completing the difficult task of aligning your teeth, the next phase in your orthodontic treatment commences: wearing a retainer to uphold the alignment! It’s vital to avoid regressions following your investment in teeth straightening. Adhering to our orthodontist’s guidelines for retainer usage aids in rebuilding bone structure around your teeth and prevents displacement during routine activities such as biting, chewing, swallowing, and speaking.

Whether your detachable retainer is made of acrylic or clear plastic, it requires care and protection to maintain the aligned position achieved during your orthodontic treatment. If you have a fixed retainer, it’s usually a metal wire bonded to the back of your front teeth and remains in place permanently. A Hawley retainer is custom-molded to fit the roof of your mouth with a wire that secures it to the front of your teeth. You wear your retainer at night while sleeping and should keep it clean when not in use.

Retainer Care

Wear It

This simple step remains crucial. Wearing your retainer prevents your teeth from shifting back to their pre-treatment positions. Follow our orthodontist’s guidance, whether wearing it during the day or only at night.

Keep It Clean

It’s not just your teeth that require cleaning; your retainer also needs to be free from germs and bacteria! Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean it when you brush and floss your teeth. You can also use denture-cleaning tablets or solutions to rinse or soak the retainer. If you have any questions, feel free to ask our team for specific guidance.

Take It Out Before Eating

You should wear your detachable retainer as instructed, except during meals. Retainers aren’t designed for chewing (unless they’re permanent). This way, you can enjoy your favorite foods without damaging the device, preventing food from getting trapped behind your retainer.

Protect It

Keep your detachable retainer in its designated container when it’s not being worn in your mouth. You want to avoid losing it (which is costly), accidentally throwing it away after eating out, or placing it where it can collect germs and bacteria—such as letting your dog chew on it.

Avoid Heat

Because acrylic or plastic retainers can be warped or damaged by high heat, it’s important to clean them using warm water, not hot. Avoid cleaning them in boiling water, the dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, dryer, or leaving them in the car on a hot day.

Wear a Sports Guard

Don’t forget to remove your retainer when playing contact or high-impact sports. Instead, use a sports guard to protect your teeth and dental tissues. Just remember to put your retainer back in place after you finish playing.

Bottom line: Always remember to wear your retainer consistently and maintain it well; in return, it will ensure your dental health. Notify our orthodontic team promptly if you encounter any issues with your retainer. It should fit comfortably—neither loose nor tight. Bring it along for check-ups during your follow-up appointments. Enjoy the benefits of your beautifully aligned smile!