After completing treatment with clear teeth aligners, wearing a removable retainer is often the next step to maintain the alignment of your teeth. Removable retainers are designed to be taken out for eating, brushing and flossing, but they must be worn consistently to prevent your teeth from shifting. Living with these clear retainers can be an adjustment, but it can become a seamless part of your daily routine with the right strategies. This article will provide some helpful tips for living with a removable retainer.

1) Follow your orthodontist’s advice

Your orthodontist’s word is sterling when it comes to wearing a removable retainer. Follow everything they tell you regarding the wear schedule, cleaning and more. Don’t skip a night if you need to wear the retainer at night. If you need to wear it for a certain amount of time per day, stick to that plan. Living with a removable retainer may have some drawbacks, but strictly following your orthodontist’s orders will eventually make the process easier. 

2) Use retainer-specific cleaning solutions

Many people believe cleaning their removable retainer with soap and a toothbrush is adequate for good oral health. However, it’s not always that easy. Talk to your orthodontist about available retainer cleaning solutions tailored to people with removable retainers. 

Be sure to stick to a consistent cleaning schedule. A removable retainer attracts bacteria and plaque that builds up quickly. Consider cleaning your retainer at least once per day and dedicate at least one day per week to giving it a deep clean.

3) Avoid unnecessary heat

Heat can cause the retainer to warp or lose its shape. Avoid leaving your retainer in hot environments, such as a car on a sunny day or near a heat source. Exposing the retainer to high temperatures can compromise its effectiveness and fit. This extends to water as well. You should wash your retainer with warm water but avoid running it under scalding hot water for any extended periods. If you notice any warping or damage, talk to your orthodontist as soon as possible.

4) Be mindful

A removable retainer offers comfort and convenience that some prefer over a permanent bonded wire. This versatility can come with a cost, however. It’s easy to lose your retainer or forget where you put it. It could slip in between the couch cushions, fall out of a bag or find itself in your dog’s stomach.

When cleaning your retainer or removing it for any reason, set up a small station where you know it will be safe, secure and visible. Become accustomed to this process so that it’s easy to recognize when you’ve accidentally forgotten to follow your own protocols.

5) Schedule regular follow-up appointments

Regular follow-up appointments with both your dentist and orthodontist are necessary to keep your retainer in working order. Your dentist can tell you if the retainer is harming your teeth in any way, while your orthodontist can answer any questions and address issues ranging from poor fits to warped material. Remember that sometimes, no matter what you do, retainers hurt sometimes. Follow-ups can address these issues.

Bottom line

Living with a removable retainer may initially require some adjustment, but with time and practice, it will become a natural part of your daily routine. Teeth aligners cost a lot, so make sure you don’t invalidate that investment. Following these tips ensures your daily routine continues without a hitch while your retainer keeps your new smile bright and beautiful.