A retainer is an orthodontic appliance (usually removable) that is supposed to be worn after your orthodontist removes your braces. When braces are removed, the teeth have a tendency to want to return back to their original positions. Retainers prevent this from happening.
Most upper retainers are made of wire and hard plastic and fit in the roof of your mouth. A lower retainer can be removable or permanently cemented to the lower teeth so that it doesn’t come out.
How you should take care of your retainer?
Most retainers are removable, meaning that you take them out when eating, brushing and flossing. For this reason, they are easy to misplace. Many people wrap their retainers in a napkin when eating, then forget about them afterwards and have to spend hundreds of dollars on a new retainer. A good solution is to always carry your retainer case with you and to use it whenever you’re not wearing your retainer. For added protection, never leave the case on a table or a bench always put it immediately in your backpack, purse or pocket.
You may start off wearing your retainer only at night, or you may be required to wear it full-time for a long period of time, orthodontists usually determine this on a case-by-case basis. No matter what the requirements, the end result, a beautiful, healthy smile will be worth following your orthodontist’s instructions closely. If you don’t, you risk undoing whatever progress your braces have made.
If you’ve worn braces and your orthodontist has decided that you need to wear retainers, the following tips can help you take care of (as well as keep up with) your retainers:
- When you brush your teeth, brush your retainers also. Rinse with cool or warm water and put them back in your mouth.
- Don’t flip your retainers with your tongue. It can be very tempting (especially with a new retainer), but this habit usually ends up breaking the retainer.
The safest place for your retainers is in your mouth. When you do take out your retainers, be sure to follow these tips:
- Never wrap your retainers in a napkin, paper towel or tissue because they will more than likely get thrown away. In fact, I lost one this way.
- Don’t ever put your retainers in your pockets or loose in your purse. They are sure to get broken.
- Last but not least, don’t leave your retainers sitting around. Children are curious about them and dogs love to eat them up. My dog thoroughly enjoyed mine for dinner one time.
Therefore, the only reason to remove these retainers is if your family dentist feels that you are not cleaning them properly. Please remember that regular checkups to your family dentist are extremely important to maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.
Reading Orthodontic Group
1268 Penn Avenue
Wyomissing, PA 19610
E-mail: [email protected]