5 Intelligent Tips for Wearing Your Retainer as Often as Required
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, retainers are prescribed to allow the bone that holds teeth to rebuild after teeth have moved and maintain the healthy new teeth positions after active orthodontic treatment ends. Your body will change throughout your entire life and your teeth change, too. This can be frustrating for those who assume their orthodontic treatment ends when the braces are removed. Yet wearing your retainer can provide so many benefits. So, we’ve come up with some helpful tips to help you be as successful as possible with your retainer treatment and so that you can enjoy your straight teeth throughout your lifetime.
Why wearing your retainer is so important.
We get it. Wearing your retainer can be frustrating. Once those braces came off, you wanted to be done with all of that orthodontic stuff. But the truth is even though your teeth are now straight and you have the smile you’ve always wanted, your teeth can shift in your mouth and move back to their former position.
Here’s what can happen if you don’t wear your retainer per your dentist’s instructions:
- Your teeth can shift, creating a renewed risk for tooth decay and gum disease
- Your retainer won’t fit anymore and your parents will need to buy you a new one
- You may have to repeat your treatment (yes, this means you might need to get braces again)
For all of these reasons and more, we implore you to do everything you can to wear your retainer, so your newly straightened teeth stay healthy and happy.
Tips for wearing your retainer consistently.
First of all, if you’re at the point where your braces treatment has ended and you’re trying to do a better job of wearing your retainer, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say congratulations. It’s worth celebrating that you have completed your orthodontic treatment and now have a beautiful smile! However, the work doesn’t stop there.
To maintain your new smile, wearing your retainer as instructed by Dr. Mo, your pediatric dentist who practices orthodontics, is crucial. And pay attention to how long you need to wear your retainer too. In most cases, patients need to wear their retainer all day, every day, for four months. Other patients need to wear theirs for 12 months. And yet other patients need to wear their retainers nightly, indefinitely.
Here are some tips to help you wear your retainer consistently and successfully.
1. Set yourself up for success.
First and foremost, it’s essential to understand why wearing your retainer is important. Remembering the benefits of wearing your retainer can motivate you to wear it regularly. Wearing your retainer will help prevent your teeth from shifting back to their former position, will ensure your parents don’t need to buy you a new one and can help prevent you from needing a repeat treatment.
But, if you’re struggling to wear your retainer, it’s important to pinpoint why that is. Do you keep losing it? Do you forget to clean it? Is it uncomfortable to wear?
2. Find solutions to your struggles.
If you keep losing your retainer, keep it in a larger container in a specific spot where you’ll always find it. If you forget to clean your retainer, download a habit-tracking app and set a reminder to clean it regularly. Apps like Streaks or HabitNow could help.
If you find it uncomfortable to wear, talk to Dr. Mo. She can adjust your retainer or recommend other solutions to make it more comfortable.
3. Find an accountability buddy.
Having someone to hold you accountable can make a big difference. Whether it’s a friend or sibling who is also wearing a retainer or someone who is helping you establish another habit, check in with each other regularly and support each other. You can always lean on your parents to help you remember.
4. Reframe your thinking.
Instead of thinking of wearing your retainer as a chore, reframe your thinking. Think of it as a way to maintain your new smile with less effort than when you had braces. Tell yourself that you’re committed to putting in the work to wear your retainer and maintain your new smile. After all, who doesn’t want a selfie-ready smile?
5. Be honest with your dentist.
Dr. Mo can tell whether you’ve been wearing your retainer as directed. It’s essential to be honest with her about your struggles. She can offer solutions or adjustments to your retainer to make it more comfortable.
Let Dr. Mo know if you are struggling to wear your retainer.
Trust us, you’re not the first person to be frustrated because you either forget to wear your retainer or find it annoying. But thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can help you better understand why wearing your retainer is important. And if it is uncomfortable, it shouldn’t be that way. Dr. Mo can help make the adjustments to make wearing your retainer after braces almost like it isn’t even there.
Have your parents request an appointment today with your kid’s dentist in Vancouver, WA, to talk to us about any help you need with your orthodontic retainer. We want to help you keep that smile, selfie, and Snapchat ready.