You made it through the months or years of orthodontic treatment and have a beautiful smile to show for it. Now comes the important part! Making sure that your smile stays in top shape. Along with great oral hygiene, this means wearing a retainer. Your orthodontist more than likely told you to wear your retainer all the time for at least six months to a year and then at least a few nights a week after that. Regular wearing helps keep your teeth from shifting, but this means that your retainer will be a life-long friend (or enemy depending on how you look at it). These tips can help extend the life of your retainer as well as make living with and using a retainer a little easier.
Tip #1 – Wear Your Retainer as Directed
When it comes to retainers, the most important thing is that you wear them according to your orthodontist’s instructions. While it may seem like a nuisance, wearing your retainer will help ensure that your new smile stays the same and your teeth don’t shift. At first, this will probably mean wearing it all day and night, aside from when you eat. As time passes, you will probably switch to only wearing it at night. Just remember that this retainer is what will keep you from needing braces again!
Tip #2 – Keep Your Retainer Cool and Avoid Heat
While you may enjoy a day in the sun or a hot cup of cocoa, heat is not your retainer’s friend. Excessive heat can melt or warp the plastic that makes up your retainer. This can affect how it fits as well as its strength and ability to hold your teeth in place. Avoid leaving it out in the sun or in a hot car and only clean with warm water, never hot or boiling.
Having a spare retainer on hand helps when unexpected damage occurs or you lose your retainer. To purchase a high-quality Essix retainer as a backup or replacement, visit SportingSmiles today.
Removable retainers, like the Essix Plus, allow you to take your retainer out when you eat. While this makes eating much nicer, it also increases the risk of you damaging or losing your retainer. Always carry your retainer case with you. When you eat, remove your retainer and place it in the case. While napkins may seem more convenient to just wrap around your retainer, they increase the risk of just being tossed in the garbage, along with your retainer.
Tip #4 – Regularly Clean Your Retainer and the Case
Think of your retainer as an extension of your teeth and clean them regularly as instructed by your orthodontist. Just like with your teeth, calcium, or tartar, can buildup, increasing the risk of damage or infection. This goes for your case as well. A dirty case can spread germs to your retainer and then to you.
Tip #5 – Your Retainer is Not a Chew Toy
While you may not be the biggest fan of your retainer, your favorite pooch may think it is the best little toy in the world. This is, in part, because the plastic used to make your retainer is similar to the material they use to make Fido’s favorite chew toy. When you aren’t wearing your retainer, always keep it in its case and in a place where your dog can’t reach.
Tip #6 – Keep a Spare Retainer
Accidents happen, so there is a good chance something will eventually happen to your retainer, be it damage or loss. Getting a replacement retainer can take time, depending on a variety of factors. Do you need a new mold? Do you have to wait for a dental appointment? How long does it take to make a new one? Because wearing your retainer is essential to keeping your teeth in place, long wait times for a new retainer can allow teeth to begin shifting, especially if it is still in the first few months after braces. Having an additional backup retainer on hand ensures that you won’t have to go a day without your retainer. Just remember to order an additional replacement retainer for when something happens, so you always have a backup.
Tip #7 – Replace Your Retainer as Needed
Retainers are not made to last forever. Over time they may become loose, warped, or damaged. Your teeth may still shift, and you may find your retainer doesn’t fit as it should. Despite your best cleaning efforts, you may find that calcium buildup just won’t come off anymore and is affecting how the retainer fits. When these things happen, it is time to get a new retainer.
At SportingSmiles, we know how important a good retainer is at helping you keep your hard-earned smile. We offer a patented self-impression kit that you use to create a mold in the comfort of your own home. Once made, you send the mold back and our technicians make a retainer just like the ones you get from your orthodontist, all without the extra cost of a dental visit. To find out how we can get you a replacement or backup retainer at a fraction of the cost, click HERE.