1) How often do I wear my retainers?
Full time for the first 4-6 months, and then at nighttime for a lifetime .
2) How do I clean my retainers?
Use mild dish soap and a toothbrush that has never seen toothpaste (toothpaste contains abrasives that weakens plastic) in lukewarm water. Depending on the mineral content of your individual tap water, your retainer may discolor sooner than later in which case you may want to use distilled water. Over time your retainer will discolor and you may choose to purchase a new retainer if you are unhappy about the discoloration.
3) How do I store my retainers?
As Dr. Park always says: “If it isn’t in your face, it’s in your case ”.
Pets and children are attracted to retainers and may break them, so it’s important to keep them in their case unless they are in your mouth. Keep your retainers at room temperature. A hot car or freezer is no place for a retainer and will cause it break or warp.
4) Can I eat with my retainers?
No. You must remove them before you eat or you might crack or distort them.
5) Will retainers move my teeth?
No. Retainers “retain ” the result we achieved from orthodontic treatment. Just like everything else on our bodies (ie. Skin will wrinkle, hair will gray), as we age our teeth will move. Slight teeth movement is normal as you age (even with excellent retainer wear).
6) Do I get free retainers for life?
No. The retainers you received on your debond date are the only retainers included in your treatment. Any loss or breakage thereafter will be associated with a cost.
7) Will I talk with a lisp forever?
No, eventually your tongue and lips will get used to your retainers. Your lips may always feel a little big because your lips are sitting on plastic laying on top of your teeth. Some may experience some dry mouth. We recommend drinking more water while wearing your retainers.
8) Can retainers cause gum problems or cavities?
No, you will need to continue to see your general dentist to make sure you don’t develop any problems in the future, but retainers do not cause these issues.
9) How often will I need to replace my retainer?
That depends on you and you alone. If you are rough with your retainers, you will most likely need to replace them every year. If anything changes in your mouth (like getting a filling/crown/extractions/etc.), the retainer might not fit anymore. It is your responsibility to call the office as soon as you know and get impressions made for a new retainer.
10) What happens if I don’t wear my retainers?
Your teeth will most likely move and might possibly move back to its original position, so it’s pertinent you wear your retainers to sustain your results!
11) Do you keep the mold used to make my retainers?
Part of the retainer making process includes breaking the mold, so we don’t actually save your mold for future use. The mold is broken while removing the newly made retainer from the mold. This means anytime you need a retainer replaced, you’ll need to come back into the office to get a new impression.
12) What if I grind through my retainers?
If you are a heavy grinder, you will most likely need a nightguard which is covered by most insurance plans and is made by your general dentist. Nightguards are made of a hard acrylic material making them more durable than the standard essix retainers we offer. Once you get your nightguard, you’ll wear it in place of a retainer so you can keep your teeth aligned and protect your teeth from grinding at the same time! (Dr. Park has used a night guard as her upper retainer for years and loves how it protects her teeth and seldom needs to be replaced!)
*Lastly, we tried to put down the most common issues and questions with retainers on this list. However, we could not put everything that could possibly happen in your
particular circumstance, because that would be impossible. Please use reason and common sense when it comes to taking care of your retainers and your teeth.