You’ve recently completed your orthodontic treatment and have been given a retainer. After so much toil and trouble, it may seem like you can kick back and relax now. But maintaining your results often requires a lot of work. Wearing a retainer after aligners is a key part of keeping your teeth in place. Here is a quick guide to what comes next after your orthodontist fits you for a retainer.
Follow your orthodontist’s plan
Your orthodontist’s word is the most important part of your retainer journey. The orthodontist knows best! They will give you a wear schedule and directions for cleaning and maintenance. Follow what your orthodontist says as closely as possible. They are professionals and know the right way to maintain your results for as long as possible.
Cleaning the retainer
Cleaning your retainer should become a regular part of your daily routine. Your orthodontist will stress the importance of continued vigilance with oral health; a clean retainer is one of the top priorities. Talk to your orthodontist about best cleaning practices.
Removable retainers should be cleaned daily with a soft toothbrush, non-abrasive toothpaste or an approved retainer cleaning solution. Brush permanent retainers well and focus on flossing around the wire using floss threaders or a water-flossing product. Whether permanent or removable, optimal oral care is necessary to ensure your teeth stay healthy while maintaining your new straightened look.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of follow-up appointments with your orthodontist and dentist. Your dentist can ensure your teeth are clean and healthy and point out any issues arising from improper retainer cleaning. Poor retainer care could lead to tooth decay or gum disease and irritation. Your dentist can spot these problems quickly at your semi-annual visit.
Meanwhile, follow-ups with your orthodontist will ensure everything is set in stone after your procedure. The orthodontist will point out any alignment issues and recommend changes to your wear schedule or cleaning routine. They will also know if you haven’t been wearing your retainer consistently! Follow-up appointments are as necessary for overall health as they are for accountability and compliance.
Maintain good oral care and habits
As noted above, maintaining good oral care on a daily basis is critical. This is true for everyone but especially so for people with retainers. Brush twice daily. Floss consistently. Use mouthwash and clean your retainer diligently. Don’t skimp on proper care! You’ve already invested in your health, and it would be wasteful for that investment to degrade slowly over time.
Good oral health also extends to bad habits such as nail biting, teeth grinding and poor diet. Nail biting and grinding can harm the teeth quickly. A poor diet high in sugar can cause cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. Maintain good oral health with your daily teeth cleaning habits while avoiding the bad habits that could further harm your teeth.
If you have any questions about what comes next after getting a retainer or concerns about how much clear aligners cost, talk to your orthodontist. Oral care is always critical – but it takes on new importance after going through the process of getting your teeth straightened. How long retainers last is directly linked to the quality of care. Keep that retainer clean, follow your orthodontist’s plan and advice, and invest in your smile’s well-being to keep it bright and beautiful for the rest of your life.