Congratulations—you’re out of your braces! Now, all you need to do to protect that beautiful smile is to wear your retainer as recommended and keep up with your regular dental routine. And, please, don’t forget to make taking care of your retainer a daily part of that regular dental routine.
Why? Because retainers need love, too! If you don’t look after your retainer, you can experience some less-than-agreeable consequences. Here are four clues that you’ve been neglecting your retainer:
1. It Smells
Just as a buildup of bacteria and food particles in your mouth can lead to bad breath, a buildup of bacteria and food particles on your retainer can lead to unpleasant odors and taste. A clean, fresh retainer is not only more appealing, it’s healthier as well! We will be happy to give you instructions on the best ways to keep your type of retainer clean. Whether you use a daily brushing, a water rinse, or a special cleaning solution, it’s important to follow our recommendations to extend the life of your retainer.
2. It’s Discolored
Plaque and tartar aren’t just problems for your teeth! If your retainer is cloudy or has white spots on the surface, it’s probably accumulating the same plaque and tartar that stick to your enamel. Again, we’ll let you know the best and safest way to keep your retainer plaque-free.
3. It’s Looking a Little the Worse for Wear
Retainers are strong, but they’re not indestructible! Washing machines, hot dashboards, creative dogs looking for new chew toys—the world is full of retainer dangers. If your retainer does suffer misfortune, give our office a call. Sometimes minor damage can be repaired, but if it can’t, you might need a new one. How to avoid this trouble and expense? Prevention. Always use your protective case whenever you remove your retainer, and keep it in a safe place.
4. It’s . . . Wait, Where Is It?
If you’ve lost your retainer for even a short period of time, you might notice it doesn’t fit comfortably anymore once you’ve found it. The ligaments and bone tissue that hold your teeth remodel as your braces move the teeth into their new positions. The retainer helps keep your teeth in place while these ligaments and bone strengthen around them. If you haven’t been wearing your retainer, there is a chance that your teeth will start shifting back to their original positions. And if they get too far out of alignment, more time in braces might be needed.
Don’t worry—we’re happy to help you avoid all of these unpleasant scenarios. We’ll give you easy instructions for cleaning and taking care of your retainer. If you ever damage it or lose it, be sure to give us a call right away, so we can get you back on track as quickly as possible. You’ve worked hard for your beautiful smile—now stop neglecting your retainer so you can keep it that way!