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How Often Should I Replace My Retainer?

October 4, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nancy @ 2:44 am

It is a wonderful thing to look into a mirror after your teeth have been aligned.  Your smile is wider and brighter, and your confidence has likely been boosted!  Now you can get back to your normal oral hygiene routine, eat what you please, and, of course, show everyone your new smile. However, your teeth will only stay in their perfectly aligned positions if you wear your retainer consistently. With proper care, it can last 5-7 years. You’ll know when it’s time to get a replacement by remembering the following telltale signs shared by an orthodontist in Ripon.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Retainer

Talk to your orthodontist about getting a replacement sooner than 5-7 years if you notice that:

  • There are cracks – Cracks of any kind can compromise its structure and leave you vulnerable to undesired tooth movement
  • It doesn’t fit well – To keep your teeth in their perfectly aligned positions, the retainer can’t be too loose or too tight.
  • There is a “buildup” – Sometimes this calculus buildup can prevent a patient from wanting to wear the retainer. So, it’s a good idea to find out better ways to keep the retainer clean or consider getting a new one.
  • It smells bad – If retainers are not cleaned daily, they can take on an unpleasant odor, making your breath unpleasant when you wear them.  This can deter you from wearing it consistently, therefore it might be best to get a replacement.

How to Keep Your Retainer in Pristine Condition

In previous decades, patients were asked to wear their retainer for only a year or two. However, over time orthodontists have learned that consistent retainer wear can maintain your results in the long term.  It is ideal to wear a retainer for life. The best way to keep your retainer in good shape is to:

  • Clean it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste each morning and evening.
  • Soak it weekly in a dentist-recommended cleaner.
  • Never use hot water or a household item like bleach to clean it.
  • Store it in a protective case when it’s not in your mouth.

Ultimately, you need to replace your retainer when you recognize its condition has deteriorated in some way. If any of the aforementioned signs have surfaced, like a crack or calculus buildup, it is time to get in touch with your orthodontist in Ripon to ask for a replacement!

About the Author 

Dr. Frances Hamman earned her dental doctorate from Creighton University and then attained her degree in orthodontics from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Hamman served on active duty in the United States Navy for six years. If you are interested in getting a retainer in Ripon or another oral appliance, schedule a consultation on her website or call (920) 748-7130.

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