Love Your Retainer

You’ve waited for what seems a long time to achieve your Forever Smile and you cannot stop showing it off. So, what now? Let’s keep it in top form with a new retainer or two.

What can you expect from your new retainer? At first your mouth will water a little morethan usual. This is normal, as at first your mouth doesn’t realize your retainer isn’t food. The sensation will go away after a few days. You may also experience a little slurred speech for a while. Talk a little slower and practice reading out loud. This will help you get back to normal more quickly.

You should always wear your retainer as prescribed by Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team. For many of you this can mean 24-hours-a-day to start. The only exception is when you are eating, cleaning them or maybe participating in contact sports. Always bring your protective case for storing your retainer when not wearing it. This will protect its shape. Never, ever wrap your retainer in a napkin or paper towel! We cannot tell you how many patients did it “just once,” and accidentally threw it out in the lunch line. Plus, paper fibers can stick to your appliance making it difficult to clean and harbor yucky bacteria.

You should always be careful when inserting and removing your retainer (and when it is simply in your mouth). Some people like to play with their retainer with their tongue. This is an easy way to break it or bend the wires causing an improper fit. Retainers should feel snug if you are wearing them properly. They don’t change in size, but they can become distorted if you play with them. They can also become misaligned if you are hard on them in placement or removal.

Another reason a retainer can become misaligned is if your teeth shift. This is generally a result of not wearing your retainer as prescribed. You should always wear your retainer as prescribed by Dr. Razdolsky to prevent shifting. Regular follow-up visits with the Forever Smiles team will help with maintenance, fitting and realignment of your retainer if necessary. Remember, the longer you have been out of braces, the less often you will be required to wear your retainer, so in time it does become easier.

Retainers are exposed to the same bacteria and plaque as the rest of your mouth. If notcared for, they can become a haven for germs and develop an unpleasant odor. Much like your teeth, retainers should be cleaned and/or rinsed after every meal to keep them fresh. Clean them as you would your teeth, with a soft brush. Some retainers can be cleaned with a gentle toothpaste, but some cannot. When the time comes, you will be given instructions specific to the proper care of your appliance. However, when in doubt… please ask.

Lastly, don’t forget. Exposure to heat is bad for your appliance. Avoid hot water when cleaning your retainer and never leave it in a hot car or exposed to direct sun. Heat and sunlight can distort your retainer or make the plastic material brittle and more susceptible to breakage.