Getting your braces taken off is quite the accomplishment, but it doesn't mean that you're quire done with the tooth straightening process just yet. Chances are your dentist will provide you with a retainer that you'll need to wear for a few hours everyday. This is to ensure that your teeth don't lose their new adjustments. If you want to make sure you're doing the best thing possible for you and your retainer, make sure you're following these steps.
Don't Force It
If you ever try to put on your retainer and it feels like it isn't fitting properly, don't try to make it fit. Forcing it to fit can potentially alter the shape of the retainer's plastic or wires, depending on which kind you have. Warping the shape means you won't be receiving the benefits of the retainer at best, or it could even mean that it could force your teeth into a new position altogether. If you think your retainer isn't fitting, visit your orthodontist to ensure that something hasn't changed with the alignment of your teeth.
Weekly Thorough Cleaning
You should plan on cleaning your retainer every day, just like you do your teeth and gums. However, it's a good idea to go a little deeper at least once a week.
Keeping plaque and bacteria to a minimum on your retainer will help you to maintain good oral health, and it will reduce the risk of your retainer becoming a bacteria colony that could increase your risk of gum disease.
In addition to brushing your retainer, consider soaking it once a week in an anti-septic mouthwash. If you're not sure which one to use, ask your dentist. This simple step will zap any remaining bacteria that may have survived your week's worth of brushing and prevent them from making your teeth or gums sick.
Alert Dentist to Tooth Grinding
Not all retainers are designed to handle extreme pressure and stress. Many are made out of a thin plastic that's only intended to hold your teeth in place, not to take additional pressure on top of that. As a result, if you think you're grinding your teeth in your sleep, you should let your dentist know.
Grinding your teeth could end up warping the shape of your retainer, leading to the problems mentioned in the first tip. It could also lead to your retainer breaking or fracturing. Your dentist may be able to make another copy of your retainer in a tougher material that can also act as a night guard, so don't hesitate to contact them.
Retainers are a simple maintenance step that can help keep your teeth looking as nice as they did the day that your braces were taken off. If you have any questions about caring for your retainer, ask your orthodontist for assistance.