The time has come. Nearly 18 months after having those metal contraptions installed in your mouth, you eagerly visit the orthodontist and finally have your braces removed, revealing a beautiful new smile. The deed is done, and you’re ready to strut your stuff out of the office when he suddenly mentions the one word you forgot – retainer.
While often forgotten about during the de-bracing of your newly straightened teeth, retainers are the next instrumental player when it comes to maintaining that fresh smile. We have a few recommendations for how to make sure you can enjoy the fruits of your time and effort, for the rest of your life – and it starts with your retainer(s)!
‘Pro Tips’ to keep those pearly whites in place:
It’s important to talk to your orthodontist about the different kinds of retainers available to you. You may want a fixed retainer, or perhaps you’ve got your eye on the removable one. Either way, here are some tips on how to maintain the retainers as well as your teeth:
- Wear your retainers as instructed by your orthodontist, for as long as they recommend it. You’ve already endured having to smile with braces, so keeping in retainer should be no problem at this point! Just make sure to remove it for the family Christmas photo.
- If you’re supposed to wear a night guard to prevent grinding, wear it. This step is especially crucial, because those hours of not wearing it at night can be extremely detrimental. Just because you’re asleep doesn’t mean your mouth is!
- If you lose or break your retainer or appliance, have it replaced ASAP.
- Take great care of your teeth at home. Brush at least twice a day, and floss once. A lot of our orthodontic patients keep their awesome oral hygiene routines after braces treatment, because of the habits they created by brushing after every meal.
- Just like you did when you had your braces on (or at least you should have) keep a travel kit prepared at all times. Prepare a kit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss (to use between meals). Don’t be afraid to use the bathroom at school or after your lunch break to ‘brush them buckies!’
- Continue to get regular professional dental check-ups and cleanings every 6 months. Bring your retainer(s) with you. Your retainers may need to be replaced every so often. If your dentist or orthodontist recommends replacing, do it. If it stops fitting correctly, bring it in to have it looked at.
- If you’re really invested in how your teeth appear during your early retention period, ask if a clear retainer may work for you.
Take great care of your fixed or removable retainers, just as you will your teeth! Keep them clean and safely stored in a hard case, and keep that in a consistent place so you won’t lose it. After all, you’ve spent time and resources on your orthodontic treatment, and the results are fantastic.
Do you have any questions about maintaining a straight smile? Call Westermeier Martin Dental Care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-508-4547.