Most teeth realignment journeys will involve the use of a retainer at some point. This is true whether you opt for an invisible brace programme such as Invisalign or more traditional fixed braces. When your fixed braces come off, your orthodontist will fit you for a bespoke retainer to help ensure your teeth stay in position long term.
Each case is different, and your orthodontist will give you personalised recommendations for when to wear your retainer, but in most cases you won’t need to wear your retainer twenty four hours a day. This raises the question of what to do with your retainer when it isn’t in use.
It’s important to take good care of your retainer. This is because:
- They are delicate! Sitting or standing on a retainer could easily cause them to break.
- They go in your mouth! For hygiene reasons you will want to ensure your retainer doesn’t come into contact with anything you wouldn’t want to put in your mouth.
- They can’t be replaced instantly! As your retainer is made specially for you, it can take time to replace them.
- They’re small! Retainers are small and are therefore easily misplaced if they aren’t put away properly.
- Replacements are charged to the patient
Because of this, it’s important to ensure that you are safely storing your retainer whenever you’re not wearing it. Ideally this should be in a clean retainer case.
For some people, this will mean storing your retainer in a case at home during the day. Alternatively, if you have been advised to wear your retainer full time, you’ll need to carry a retainer case with you so you have somewhere safe to store your retainer during meals or while playing contact sports.
It’s also key to remember that your retainer can be damaged by exposure to heat. Make sure you keep your retainer away from hot water, the washing machine, radiators or direct sunlight.
Want to know more about wearing a removable retainer after your fixed braces are removed? Here’s what you’ll need to keep in mind.