Once your orthodontist removes your braces, you'll likely need to wear a retainer. Made from plastic and wire, these devices custom-fit your mouth to hold the jawbone in place and prevent the teeth from shifting, which preserves the appearance and function of your corrected smile. Here are some helpful do's and don'ts on how dentists recommend wearing and caring for your retainer.


Know when to wear it.

Your orthodontist will likely never complain about you wearing your retainer too often. In fact, many dental care professionals advise patients to wear retainers nightly for the rest of their lives. You might also need to wear the device during the day. Your doctor will provide you with a prescription that tells you when and how long you'll need to wear it. 


Remove before eating.

If you wear your retainer during the day, your orthodontist might recommend removing it before eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This prevents hard, sticky, and tough foods from getting stuck between the wires or cracking the plastic. Put the device in a retainer case rather than folding it up in a napkin so that you don't accidentally throw it in the garbage. 


Expose it to heat. 

If you leave your retainer near the stove, heating vent, or in a hot car, the material may soften and warp, preventing the device from fitting your mouth properly. When you remove it, keep it in a hard case and store it in a cool place, such as a nightstand drawer or bathroom cabinet. 

Use it when it's dirty. 

Unless your dentist or orthodontist gives you special instructions, you can usually clean the retainer with your regular toothbrush and paste. The dentist might recommend soaking it in mouthwash or effervescent cleaner to remove stubborn bacteria and keep the plastic from drying out. Don't wear a dirty retainer, as lingering bacteria could lead to mouth odor. 


Keep your teeth, mouth, and gums healthy while wearing retainers or aligners with help from North Chautauqua Dental PC. This family dentistry practice provides teeth cleanings, exams, and retainers to clients throughout Dunkirk, NY. Call (716) 366-6822 to book appointments for biannual cleanings, and visit the website to learn more about how this dentist can improve and protect your smile.