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When Do I Need A New Retainer?

The happiest day for any orthodontic patient is the moment when his or her braces get removed; however, to maintain this perfect smile still requires constant attention. Wearing your orthodontic retainer consistently is the start of a life-long need to keep your teeth in the best position possible. After constant wear, you may come across a situation where it is finally time to get your retainer replaced.

On the first day that you receive your retainer, it must fit correctly. If it does not fit properly, notify Dr. Robert J. Hermanand he will provide you with a replacement. It is your responsibility to wear your retainer as prescribed to minimize any teeth movement, but please be aware that retainers do not completely immobilize your teeth from shifting since this is a natural occurrence.

If your retainer gets damaged from being stepped on, melted from the sun, or other unplanned accidents, you will need to get it replaced or repaired. It is recommended that you keep your retainers in its case when it is not in your mouth in order to prevent situations like these from occurring.

Lastly, normal wear and tear can occur when you’ve had your retainer for a very long time. Most retainers may last up to two to three years, but can vary depending on each patient and how frequently he or she wears the retainer. Some signs that it is time to replace your retainer are discoloration, distortion, and calcium buildup. If you find yourself thinking, “I am not putting that retainer in my mouth,” then it is probably time to get a new one.

Caring For Your Retainer

In order to make the most out of your orthodontic treatment, it is important to practice good oral hygiene and follow Dr. Herman’s instructions when wearing a retainer. With proper care and maintenance, you can achieve a beautiful smile that can last a lifetime. It is important that when you receive your retainer that you:

  • Clean it regularly: Bacteria and plaque buildup can make your retainer dirty and have an unpleasant odor. Clean them with a soft brush and rinse them after every meal.
  • Don’t wrap it in a tissue: The pieces from the tissue can stick to the retainer, which makes it difficult to clean.
  • Be careful when wearing the appliance: Any time that you remove or insert the retainer haphazardly, you run the risk of bending or breaking the wires.


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