Helpful Retainer Habits

Four Clues That You've Been Neglecting Your Retainers

March 8th, 2023

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 a few clues that you might be failing to give yours the care it needs:

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.

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.

It’s Looking A Little 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 right way. 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.

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—the team at Bel Air Orthodontics is 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 you just need to help your retainer work to keep it that way!

Helpful Retainer Habits

January 18th, 2021

We’ve probably all seen that unhappy kid or frazzled parent sifting through trash for a lost retainer. If you're really unlucky, YOU might have been that unhappy kid or frazzled parent sifting through the unpleasant remains of third period lunch hour. But getting tossed isn’t the only risk these appliances face. Read on for ways to keep your retainer (and your parent!) happy.

Keep Your Retainer with You

Always carry a retainer case. If you automatically put your retainer in its case when you’re eating, you are much more likely to remember it then if it has been wrapped up in a napkin on your lunch tray. And, if the worst happens, much more likely to recover it in one piece.

Choose the brightest colored case you can live with, so you will have an easier time locating it if need be, and discuss how to label the case to get it back safely to you–just in case.

Keep Your Retainer Intact

You might think if you put your retainer in your backpack, or purse, or saxophone case, or athletic bag, it will be safe. It will not. Retainers are designed to be tough enough for everyday wear, but being tossed on the floor while inside a backpack is not everyday wear. Always put your retainer back in its (brightly colored) case before packing it away.

Retainers can warp if they are exposed to heat, so keep them away from potential heat sources like stoves, microwaves, and washers and dryers. Even your car dashboard can become hot enough to warp your retainer. And never use boiling water to clean them.

Finally, your dog might find your retainer to be the #best-chewtoy-ever, so be sure to put it in a spot pets can’t reach when you’re not wearing it.

Keep Your Retainer Clean

Just like plaque can build up on your teeth, minerals and calcium can build up on your retainer. Different types of retainers require different cleaning methods, so talk to us about how to keep your retainer clean and bacteria-free. We will be happy to give you instructions on the best way to take care of your particular appliance. And don’t forget to clean your case regularly!

Accidents will happen, of course. If your retainer is lost or damaged, call the Bel Air Orthodontics team as soon as possible. We might be able to fix minor damage, and, if needed, we can replace a lost retainer quickly.

Your time in braces is over, but your teeth are still stabilizing in their new, healthy positions. Wearing your retainer regularly is the final step in producing the beautiful smile you’ve worked so hard for. Keep your retainer clean, keep it safe, and keep it with you, and you can enjoy that smile now and for years to come!