How do I clean my retainer?
Do not clean your retainer in hot or boiling water. This will distort the retainer permanently. Rinse your retainer with warm water daily. You may use a toothbrush and toothpaste, but this may scratch the clear retainers slightly (this will not harm the retainer, it will just not be as clear). If this does not clean sufficiently, the retainer may be soaked in white vinegar or denture cleaner for 5 minutes, then rinsed clean.
REMOVABLE RETAINER QUESTIONS
What is a removable retainer?
You have recently been given your retainers. Most retainers are made totally of clear plastic and we call them “clear retainers” at our office (genius!!) Some retainers have pink or colored acrylic and a wire component(called Hawleys) and Dr. Hodges has chosen the type of retainer for you.
How much should I wear my removable retainer?
For most patients, we recommend wearing your retainer full time for the first three months after braces have been removed, then night time only after that. “Full Time” means your retainer should be worn ALL the time except when eating, brushing, in contact sports, or swimming in a lake (or ocean) where they could not be retrieved. After the first three months (you should have this date written on your retainer box), we recommend wearing retainers at night time only. “Night Time Only” means that you should wear your retainer approximately 8 hours a day. Night time is usually the easiest time to achieve this, but could be worn at other times to achieve 8 hours.
Where do I keep my removable retainer?
When your retainers are not being worn, they should be kept in the case we provided. Do not put them on a table top where they can get knocked off or in a pocket where they may be easily cracked. Keep them away from dogs as they will very quickly chew them if given the opportunity. lf you must take them out, be sure to NEVER NEVER wrap them in a paper towel, napkin or tissue. This is the most common way of losing them. ALWAYS put them in the plastic retainer case we gave you and always keep them in a safe place.
When do I stop wearing my retainer?
In one word, never. Recent studies prove what is logical, that your teeth continue to move throughout life. We recommend that retainers be worn indefinitely.
What if my removable retainer is loose?
If your retainer is removable and has a wire component to it, we can adjust the retainer to tighten it up. The plastic, or clear, retainers will loosen slightly with time but if they do not fall out during sleep, they should be fine. The fact that they are not as tight as they were on the first day does not prevent them from working properly.
What if my retainer stops fitting?
Sorry to break it to you, but 99% of the time, this means that you did not wear the retainer consistently. On occasion, a new tooth may be erupting that would cause the retainer to stop fitting. If you are wearing the retainer as directed, it should continue to fit. If it does not fit, you should contact our office to see if it can be adjusted or a new one needs to be made.
Do I have to wear a mouth guard while playing sports with my braces?
We have never seen a sport related tooth injury in a patient wearing a mouth guard. We recommended wearing one during all sports activities. We have basic youth and adult size mouth guards available for free in our office, just ask. You may purchase the cool name brand colorful one from your sport store as long as it is not a customized (boil and bite) guard.
Why are my teeth sore when wearing my retainer?
It is not unusual for your teeth to be a little sore in the beginning as they get adjusted to a new appliance. This should resolve within the first week. However, if you have not been wearing your retainer consistently, your teeth will be sore because they have moved and the retainer is putting pressure on the teeth to move them back. In this case, the retainer should be worn full time until the soreness resolves and then you can get back in the night time only routine.
Can I use my removable retainer as a bleaching tray?
Your retainer has been made in a way that provides the best retention for your teeth. If your retainer covers all the margins of your teeth the answer is yes- you may use your retainer as a beaching tray. Also keep in mind that this sometimes discolors and scratches your retainer and it will not be as clear, I suggest waiting until you have progressed to night time wear only.