Retainers are an essential part of orthodontic treatment, helping to keep your teeth in their new positions and prevent them from shifting back. Despite their importance, many people fail to wear their retainers as prescribed, leading to potential orthodontic relapse. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of wearing a retainer and provide tips for remembering to wear it.
Why Wearing a Retainer is Important
After braces are removed, teeth may try to shift back to their original positions. This is because the ligaments that hold the teeth in place are not yet fully formed and can easily be stretched. Wearing a retainer helps to keep the teeth in their new positions while the ligaments adjust and strengthen, reducing the risk of relapse.
Retainers are also important for maintaining the results of other orthodontic treatments, such as clear aligners or lingual braces. Without proper retention, teeth can quickly shift back to their original positions, undoing months or even years of orthodontic work.
Tips for Remembering to Wear Your Retainer
- Set a Daily Reminder – One of the easiest ways to remember to wear your retainer is to set a daily reminder on your phone or computer. This can be an alarm or a notification that pops up at the same time every day, reminding you to put in your retainer. Over time, the reminder will become a habit, and you’ll be less likely to forget.
- Keep Your Retainer Visible – If your retainer is out of sight, it’s easy to forget about it. Keep your retainer in a visible location, such as on your bedside table or next to your toothbrush. This will serve as a visual reminder to put in your retainer before going to bed or after brushing your teeth.
- Keep Your Retainer Clean – A dirty retainer can be a turn-off, making you less likely to wear it. Keep your retainer clean by brushing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap or soaking it in a retainer cleaner solution. A clean retainer is not only more hygienic, but it can also make it more comfortable to wear.
- Make Wearing Your Retainer a Part of Your Routine – If you make wearing your retainer a part of your daily routine, it will become second nature. For example, if you always put in your retainer before going to bed or after brushing your teeth, it will become a habit that you don’t have to think about.
- Wear Your Retainer for the Prescribed Amount of Time – Orthodontists typically recommend wearing a retainer for a specific amount of time each day, such as 12 hours or overnight. It’s important to follow these instructions and wear your retainer for the prescribed amount of time to ensure that your teeth stay in their new positions. If you’re having trouble remembering to wear your retainer for the full amount of time, start by wearing it for shorter periods and gradually build up to the full time.
- Have a Backup Plan – Life can be unpredictable, and there may be times when you forget your retainer or can’t wear it for some reason. Having a backup plan can help prevent orthodontic relapse during these times. For example, you may want to keep a spare retainer at work or in your car, or you may consider getting a permanent retainer that is bonded to the back of your teeth.
Wearing a retainer is an important part of orthodontic treatment, helping to maintain the results of braces, clear aligners, and other orthodontic treatments. By following these tips for remembering to wear your retainer, you can ensure that your teeth stay in their new positions and avoid the need for additional orthodontic treatment in the future. If you have any questions about your retainer or orthodontic treatment, contact our orthodontic office to learn how we can help.