Oh happy day! Your braces just came off and you can’t wait to take a bite of an apple again. You were so excited and busy taking selfies that you forgot everything we told you about your retainers. No worries, here are the highlights:
• Wear them full time unless eating or brushing your teeth until told to only wear at night
If your orthodontist glued a wire behind your teeth this is called a fixed or bonded retainer. These are sometimes incorrectly referred to as a permanent retainers. Unfortunately, with teeth nothing is permanent and they may need to be serviced in the future if they become dislodged or broken. If this happens see your orthodontist as soon as possible because teeth may still shift quickly even if it’s been years since your braces were finished.
• When you take them out to brush, clean your retainers by brushing them with a toothbrush or using a Q-tip. We like unscented liquid hand soap because some toothpastes can stain clear retainers. You can also soak them in Retainer Brite
or Efferdent Fresh Guard
solutions but no mouthwash (it will turn them green). Retainers build up crud just like your teeth do and will get grimy in no time if not cleaned properly.
• When eating, never put them in a napkin and put them on your tray or plate. They will get thrown away and nobody likes dumpster diving to look for a lost retainer
• Keep them away from your dog and cat. They don’t make a good chew toy but your dog or cat would love to test them out for you.
• Make sure you bring them to all retainer check appointments. It’s hard to check a retainer when it’s at home in your drawer.
If you need to sterilize your retainer you can soak the retainer in a solution of 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water for 15 minutes. Make sure to rinse the retainer well before you put it back into your mouth.
Remember your retainers won’t last a lifetime and typically need to be replaced every couple years. If they tear, crack, break or begin to get holes in them come back an have them remade. If you were given a model of your teeth, make sure to bring this to save on the cost of a new retainer