Helpful Tips to “Retain” your Retainer

After spending 6 months to 2 years in braces, you finally achieve that winning smile, your friends all congratulate you, and you are finally done, right? Well, almost. That small retainer the orthodontist made for you is pretty important. Your retainer is specifically designed to help hold that beautiful smile that you worked so hard to gain. As people grow and age, a number of factors put pressure on your teeth, jaw, bone structure, and even tissue. These pressures can cause change and shift in your teeth at any age. That’s where your retainer comes in. Your retainer ensures that your dream smile doesn’t fade away with age but stays vibrant for life.

There are three basic types of retainers: fixed (glued into place on your teeth), Essix (clear plastic trays vacuum-formed with a strong, flexible material), or Hawley (a wire fitted across the front of the teeth, anchored in acrylic, and formed to the roof of the mouth). Braces U Orthodontics employs both fixed and Essix retainers at the end of treatment. We are able to provide any of the three options and will help you determine which type is right for you at the end of your treatment. Retainers are meant to be worn every night for the duration of life. Even though we know retainers are so important, sometimes it can be challenging to remember to wear them, take them off, and store them. We’ve included a few tips to help make it easier.

4 Tips for Wearing Your Retainer

Tip 1: “If it’s not on your face, it’s in your case!” This strategy helps remind you that your retainer only has two homes: your mouth or its case.

Tip 2: “Before you get into bed, put it in your head.” We know how exhausted you can be at the end of the day so this trick is tired proof. Put a specific stuffed animal, pillow, or reminder on your pillow every day so when you have to move it you remember to put on your retainer.

Tip 3: “Keep your case in the same place.” This tidbit can help you always know where your retainer is. This may be in your bathroom or nightstand; just find a spot and don’t move it. You can request a second case if you want one for travel. If you are traveling three days or less, it may be better to leave it at home instead of risking losing it.

Tip 4: Toothpaste is for teeth. Your Essix retainer does need to be cleaned daily to avoid bacteria build up, but it only needs to be cleaned with mouthwash or a mild soap using cool water. Toothpaste can be too abrasive.

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