There Is No "One Key" To Great Dental Health

So You Have A Retainer: Tips To Help The Next Years Go Smoothly

You finally got your braces off, and you are so excited to be braces-free. But now you have to wear a retainer. Most people need to wear their retainer full-time for six months to a year, and then at night after that. Wearing a retainer is a lot easier than wearing braces since you can remove it to eat and brush your teeth. But still, there are a few tips you'll want to follow to ensure your time with a retainer goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Invest in a storage case.

So many people lose their retainer and end up having to buy a new one. Your risk of losing your retainer will be lower if you invest in a storage case. Keep the case in your purse or backpack so you can place your retainer inside of it when you eat or otherwise need to remove it. This will also help keep your retainer clean. Some people set it on a napkin while they eat, but then it gets paper pieces stuck to it, which is a bit gross.

2. Brush your teeth and retainer before reinserting it.

You should change the way you brush your teeth when you are wearing a retainer full-time. Instead of brushing just morning and night, you will want to brush after every meal. Brush your retainer before putting it back in after a meal, too. If you do not brush your retainer and teeth after eating, you risk trapping food particles between your teeth and retainer, which can lead to nasty smells and an increased risk of cavities and gum disease. 

3. Wear it as often as recommended.

It can be so tempting to leave your retainer out for just a day or two...but doing so may give your teeth all the chance they need to start shifting back into their old positions. Adhere to your dentist's recommended wear schedule. Keep your checkup appointments so that your dentist can tell you if you need to make any changes to your wear schedule. 

4. Soak your retainer for deep cleaning every few days.

Generally, brushing your retainer with toothpaste and a toothbrush will get it decently clean. However, you should also give it a deep soak every couple of days to kill any germs that brushing has failed to remove. Dissolvable retainer cleaning tablets are available at most pharmacies, but you can also make your own antibacterial solution by mixing one part hydrogen peroxide with ten parts water. Soak the retainer overnight; this gives the solution plenty of time to work. 

5. Get your retainer replaced if it breaks.

If at any point your retainer gets bent or broken, visit your orthodontist to have it repaired or replaced. Wearing a broken retainer can do more harm than good. The retainer may push your teeth out of place, or it may rub your cheeks and cause sores. Replacing your retainer can be a big expense, but it is less expensive than paying to get braces again if your broken retainer ruins your smile.

6. Leave it alone.

Especially when you first start wearing your retainer, you may be tempted to keep pushing on it and playing with it with your tongue. Try to avoid this temptation. The repetitive motions can wear out your retainer in certain areas and may also irritate your tongue. If you find yourself playing with the retainer with your tongue, try to distract yourself by playing with a stress ball or fidget spinner.

If you follow the tips above, the time you spend wearing a retainer should go smoothly than the time you spent with braces. Reach out to a dental clinic such as Twin Cities Dental to learn more.