Orthodontic retainers preserve the time and monetary investment that was made to achieve your smile of a lifetime or the smile of your children’s future. Without retainers, teeth tend to drift back out of alignment and relapse into previous positions. This is due to a variety of elastic fibers that help make up the composition of our gum tissue. Wearing a retainer and caring for it properly helps maintain smile alignment and a proper bite for the decades ahead.
Tip 1: Always Keep it Somewhere Safe
Heat will do a huge number on your retainer, so never keep your case in the car, where it might get hot and warp. On that note, only use room-temperature water to clean your retainer, as hot tap water will also damage the material. Never put it in the dishwasher to clean it. Simple toothbrushing on a daily basis or an occassional soak in a mixture of white vinegar and water will help to keep your retainer sparkly clean.
Always store your retainer out of the reach of pets or young siblings. If it’s chewed up or stolen away by your pet, give us a call immediately as you’ll need to replace it ASAP before any tooth shifting occurs.
Keeping your retainer case in the same place(s) every day will help you avoid misplacing it or getting it damaged. Retainers in a pocket or backpack pouch without a case are destined to be deformed and can actually cause your teeth to shift in a negative way.
Tip 2: Mark Your Storage Case
If you’re on the go and need to take your retainer out, try to have a bright, clearly-marked storage case with your name and phone number on it. That way, if you’re removing it during athletic activities or while away at summer camp and it gets misplaced, it’s easy to figure out who it belongs to. A kind friend or stranger that finds it may call you to let you know where it is!
Tip 3: Set a Nightly Phone Reminder
After your orthodontist tells you it is okay to wear the retainer only at night, it is important that you remember to actually put it in for sleeping time. Out of sight, out of mind could lead you or your child to forget to put it in. Sleeping in your retainer is essential to preserve your smile alignment. Setting a reminder on an electronic device to go off every evening can be just the helpful reminder that is needed to keep our smiles straight. This alert is also a great opportunity to make sure they’re brushing their teeth thoroughly before bedtime.
Get a New Retainer Made ASAP
If you’ve lost or damaged your retainer, make sure to contact your orthodontist immediately. The quicker we fit your child with a new retainer, the less likely they are to experience any tooth relapse. If we are alerted immediately and the previous retainer was fitting perfectly, we can even use the previous scan or 3D printed model to save you a trip into the office.