So your braces have come off and you are ready for the next step in your beautiful smile: retention. Retention is the stage where the brackets are (finally!) removed, and your teeth are ready for the retainers to work their magic. Your retainer will become your new best friend, as it will be with you (hopefully) for as long as necessary to keep your teeth from going back to their old position.
You may have a fixed retainer behind your lower front teeth, which is a piece of metal bonded behind your front teeth to keep them lined up straight. You may have a custom-made removable plastic retainer that slips over your teeth, or even a plastic-metal retainer molded to your mouth holding the teeth in place.
Your retainer can’t work its magic if you don’t wear it. Usually it will be worn at night to keep your teeth in line while you sleep, which is also when most shifting can occur.
If you do have a removable retainer and you take it out to eat, your biggest challenge is not losing it. How many times have you heard of someone tucking a retainer discreetly in a napkin while enjoying a meal with others?
Just a moment’s lapse in memory can have you accidentally picking up the napkin and tossing it along with the remains of your meal….and there goes your beloved retainer! If you are lucky, you will remember before you get out the door or onto your next activity, saving you a dumpster dive later, or worse, the cost of replacing your retainer.
Always keeping your retainer in a container specifically for the appliance when you take it off is the best habit you can acquire for long-term care of your teeth, besides daily brushing and flossing. It helps if the container is colorful, as it will jog your memory and you will be unlikely to toss it out.
Keep your smile bright by taking good care of your retainer, and it will keep your hard-won smile in place for years to come. Please call us if you have any questions!