Retainer Care Instructions

November 3, 2021

Now that your braces have been removed, it is important to wear your retainers properly to ensure the teeth don't move back. Follow these instructions for the care and use of your retainers so that they last for years!

  • It is important to wear your appliance 24 hours a day for the first year. The only exception is for eating and brushing both your teeth and the appliance, or as directed by your orthodontist. Please continue to wear them 24 hours a day until otherwise instructed.
  • If you were given a night time and day time retainer, always wear them at the instructed time. If you are away from home and have forgotten your nighttime retainer, wear your daytime retainer as it is very important to never go without a retainer, not even for one night.
  • If you take your retainer out for any reason, please store it in the retainer case. NEVER put it in your pocket or wrap it in a napkin or cloth. This usually leads to broken or thrown away appliances.
  • You may have difficulty speaking when you first get your retainers. Practice singing or reading out loud to get used to them. You may also notice that you salivate a lot, this will stop once your mouth has adjusted to a foreign object in your mouth.
  • You may feel like you are biting a wire in the back. This feeling will go away after a couple days. Likewise, it may feel like there is a space between the upper retainer and the roof of your mouth. This will also diminish as the retainer settles over the next few days.
  • Always insert the retainer with your fingers. Never bite the retainer into place, this will damage or break it.
  • Keep your retainers away from pets. Dogs, especially, love to chew on them and break them.
  • It is ok to take your retainers out if you are sick. However, try not to keep them out for an extended period of time.
  • Clean your retainers every time you clean your teeth. You may use a toothbrush and toothpaste. Failure to clean your retainers can result in damage to your teeth and gums. It can also affect the lifespan of your retainers. You may also soak your appliance in a cleaning aid solution approximately once a week, but not too often as it could damage the wire and soldering. Do not use at home bleaching agents to clean your retainer.
  • Do not flip the retainer with your tongue. This could damage the retainer and/or your teeth.
  • Do not chew gum while wearing your retainer. 
  • Your retainer is made out of acrylic and is sensitive to heat. Do not subject the retainers to heat. This includes hot water, the dishwasher or washing machine, or leaving them in a hot car. The heat could cause them to distort and make them unusable.
  • Retainers are also breakable. If a piece chips, and it is still wearable, continue to wear it until we are able to have a look at it. If it is broken and unwearable, you will most likely need an impression to repair it. Call our office as soon as possible, do not wait too long or you risk the teeth shifting.
  • If you find your retainer is pinching you, try using wax until you can set up an appointment for us to fix it. Likewise, if your retainer feels loose or ill fitting, do not attempt to adjust it yourself.
  • Use your best judgement regarding removing your retainers for sports, swimming, singing etc. If there is an activity where there is a risk that they may be damaged or lost, please place them in the case provided. Always remember to replace them as soon as you are finished with the activity.
  • Keep up with your retainer checkup appointments and your annual dental checkups. Remember to bring ALL your retainers with you to all appointments.
  • If you ever have questions or concerns, call us!

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