After having your braces removed, you may wonder what more you can do to protect your smile. You’ll likely be fitted for a retainer, a tool your dentist uses to preserve the outcome achieved by your braces. You may have questions about this new addition to your oral care. Here, Mark Stephens DMD of Richmond, KY, answers five common questions about retainer use.
Retainer Wear & What You Need to Know
1. What Will Happen if I Stop Wearing It?
If you don’t wear your retainer, your teeth will likely shift back to the way they were before you had braces. It’s crucial to wear your retainer for as long as your dentist recommends to ensure your teeth remain properly aligned and spaced.
2. What Do Retainers Look Like?
There are several varieties of retainers that a dentist or orthodontist will choose based on your personal needs. Some people have permanent retainers glued into their mouths that have a winding mechanism to keep the teeth aligned. Others wear simple plastic and wire retainers that they remove to eat and brush their teeth.
3. How Do I Clean My Retainer?
You should brush your teeth several times a day to keep your mouth plaque-free and healthy. Follow similar procedures with your retainer. Your dentist will recommend special tools like a soft pick to get underneath permanent retainers—for removable versions they may suggest specific washes or brushes.
4. When Should I Take My Retainer Out?
If you have a removable retainer, you’ll need to bring along your case everywhere you go. This way you have somewhere to stash it when you play contact sports, eat, and brush your teeth. Never place your retainer on a napkin or lunch tray—it may accidentally end up in the garbage.
5. How Long Will I Have to Wear My Retainer?
You’ve put a lot of time and money into orthodontic work, so it’s essential to never get out of the habit of wearing your retainer—this way, you can make sure your teeth stay in their newly aligned position. Along with attending regular dentist checkups, you should also have your retainer looked at to ensure it’s in good shape and doesn’t require any adjustments.
Retainers help your mouth maintain the shape given to you by braces for years to come. Make sure yours fits comfortably and is well taken care of by bringing it to Mark Stephens DMD. Call (859) 626-0069 or visit the website for information on cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, emergency care, and Invisalign®.