A retainer is a device that helps you maintain the alignment of your teeth after orthodontic treatment. Retainers are usually made of metal wires or plastic and fit over your teeth or inside your mouth. They prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original positions and help you preserve your beautiful smile.
But how do you use a retainer properly? And how long do you need to wear it? In this article, we will answer these questions and give you some tips on how to care for your retainer.
How to Use a Retainer
The first thing you need to know is that there are different types of retainers, and each one has its own instructions on how to use it. The most common types are:
Fixed retainers: These are thin metal wires that are glued to the back of your front teeth. They are permanent and can only be removed by your dentist. You need to brush and floss them carefully every day to prevent plaque and tartar buildup.
Removable retainers: These are plastic or metal devices that fit over your teeth or inside your mouth. You can take them out when you eat, drink, or brush your teeth. You need to wear them as directed by your dentist, usually for a few hours a day or at night.
Invisible retainers: These are clear plastic trays that fit snugly over your teeth. They are similar to aligners used for Invisalign treatment. You need to wear them for 22 hours a day and change them every two weeks.
Your dentist will tell you which type of retainer is best for you and how long you need to wear it. Generally, you will need to wear a retainer for at least a year after your braces are removed, but some people may need to wear it longer or even for life.
How to Care for Your Retainer
To keep your retainer in good condition and avoid damaging it, you should follow these tips:
Clean your retainer regularly: You should clean your retainer every time you take it out of your mouth. You can use a soft toothbrush and mild soap or denture cleaner to gently scrub it. Rinse it well with water and dry it with a soft cloth. Do not use hot water, bleach, alcohol, or abrasive products as they can warp or discolor your retainer.
Store your retainer properly: You should store your retainer in a case when you are not wearing it. This will protect it from dust, bacteria, and damage. Do not leave it in direct sunlight, heat, or cold as they can affect its shape and fit. Do not wrap it in a tissue or napkin as someone may throw it away by mistake.
Avoid losing or breaking your retainer: You should always keep your retainer in a safe place when you are not wearing it. Do not put it in your pocket, backpack, or purse as it may get lost or crushed. Do not play with it or chew on it as it may bend or crack. If you lose or break your retainer, contact your dentist as soon as possible to get a replacement.
A retainer is an important part of your orthodontic treatment that helps you maintain the results of your braces. By following the instructions on how to use and care for your retainer, you can ensure that your teeth stay straight and healthy for years to come.