What is a Retainer?
A retainer is usually a device that helps to prevent the teeth from moving after it’s been straightened with the braces. Ideally, it takes almost four to six months of time for the teeth to become permanent in their new position. During this time, teeth try to shift to their original position back. This situation is called a relapse.
However, the use of a retainer helps to prevent this relapse. It needs to be worn for at least four months depending upon their teeth’ structure. Some people need to wear it for a period of one year to prevent relapse. An orthodontist instructs how to use the retainers at night for a definite period of time after the braces are removed.
Wearing a retainer is usually an important step in the treatment process after you or your child gets braces off. However, it can be difficult to remember to wear the retainer and you don’t want to have to go through treatment again.
Missing one night here or there is not usually a big deal, but there are tips to help you remember to keep your teeth straight.
Writing down the instructions that the orthodontist in San Tan Valley gave you will help you remember. Whether the orthodontist says to wear a retainer all night, day or just a few hours at certain times, writing instructions down on paper commits them to memory. This is a good time to make sure you understand all the instructions. Be sure to ask your orthodontist if things are unclear.
Every time you take out the retainer, be sure to clean it. If you go to put your retainer back in your mouth and it’s dirty, you may be tempted not to wear it. Take the time to clean it every day, even if you are in a rush.
If you have to wear your retainer to sleep every night, put a note on your mirror reminding you. You can also use notes in your wallet, purse or car if you have to wear it during the day.
Set up daily reminders for when you are supposed to wear the retainer. You can use your phone or an email calendar to set up alarms. Once the alarm goes off, go get your retainer.
If there are only certain times you have to wear your retainer, use a recurring event to help you remember. It could be something like watching a weekly TV show, when you typically do laundry or on a family game night. Use the event to serve as a reminder to put in the retainer.
When you do take out your retainer, make sure that you always remember to put it in its case. This will help reduce the chances of throwing it away or losing it. You won’t have to go through the trouble of getting a new one or having to pay for a replacement.
For some extra motivation, look up pictures of what can happen if you don’t wear the retainer. This works for those who are more visual, and you don’t want the same thing to happen to you. It is also good to remind yourself how much you didn’t like braces. If your teeth shift too much, you will have to go back to wearing braces.
If nothing else is working, ask for help. Let your family or roommates know you need some help and have them kindly remind you to wear your retainer when you are supposed to. Assure your family and friends that it won’t be considered nagging and that you would appreciate their help.
If you find your retainer is uncomfortable or painful and feel like it’s hard to wear, be sure to speak to your orthodontist. It may need to be adjusted to make it more comfortable for wear.