After spending the time and money on braces to give yourself or your child a healthier smile, the last thing you want is for that work to go to waste. Your orthodontist has likely informed you about your retainer, including how long you should wear it, how to clean it, and when you can take it out.
But a more in-depth explanation of when and how you can take out your retainer may help you keep your appliance functioning properly. Continue reading to learn how to take out a retainer, clean it, and ensure that it remains a safeguard against unwanted treatment regression.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
Why Do I Have to Wear a Retainer?
A lot of patients ask this question after their braces are first removed. Though it may seem daunting to add a retainer to your permanent dental care schedule, retainers ensure that the changes made by your braces stay permanent.
The ligaments that hold teeth in place will remember where they used to be. Gradually, they will shift the teeth back to their original, unhealthy positions. Without a retainer, you will eventually lose your straight smile and all the benefits it provides, including protection against cavities, jaw pain, speech impediments, tooth decay, and more.
Depending on the severity of your original condition, you may not have to wear your retainer as long as someone else. However, everyone must wear it for 22 hours per day for at least 2 months after their braces come off. This schedule then relaxes depending on your orthodontist’s recommendations at your follow-up appointment.
How Do I Put and Take Out a Retainer?
Putting in a retainer is simple. Since the appliance is molded from your teeth, it should fit snugly all around the edges. Gently push the retainer up into your teeth with both thumbs, using gentle pressure down to the back to make sure it attaches to the molars too.
Removing the retainer is just as easy. Use your fingertip to pull the appliance off your back molars to loosen it and take it out the rest of the way.
How Do I Store My Retainer?
Knowing when to take out your retainer is important to keeping it safe. Remember that you should never wear it while eating, drinking anything other than water, or playing contact sports. These activities could damage or stain the retainer, making it less pleasant to wear or even less effective at retaining your smile.
Storing your retainer is an important part of taking it out since retainers dry out in the open air. Additionally, loose retainers could be chewed by a dog, thrown away by mistake, stepped on, or lost. Keep the dedicated retainer case provided by your orthodontist so that you always know where you put your appliance while it’s out.
How Do I Clean My Retainer?
Properly cleaning your retainer is another important aspect of its care. When you take it out, always rinse it with warm or cool water. Scalding water could warp the plastic and ruin the appliance.
When cleaning it, use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a premade retainer cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water. Never use colored soap as this can stain the appliance and make it taste bitter. You should also never use toothpaste, which often contains abrasive material that cleans teeth but scratches and ruins acrylic.
What if I Have a Permanent Retainer?
Not all retainers are removable. You may have opted for permanent or lingual retainers, which are fixed with dental cement to the back of one or both of your arches. Despite the name, these retainers sometimes need to be taken out as well.
Permanent retainers have to be removed by a dental professional. They may do so to do a deep cleaning, replace a broken retainer, or diagnose your mouth pain. Never remove a permanent retainer on your own, as this can damage your teeth.
Visit your orthodontist if your permanent retainer has come loose or is bothering you. While some discomfort can be expected, retainers should never hurt.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.