The day you get your braces off is a day that most people look forward to for a long time. And while everyone is eager to see their new smile (and feel their teeth!), it’s important to maintain all of the work that has been done.
Nearly everyone will be asked to wear a retainer to make sure that beautiful new smile stays in line. Not wearing one can risk your teeth moving out of place and you have to start the whole process over again.
Inconvenient at times, yes, your retainer is something that needs to be taken care of and, more importantly, USED!
Teeth are dynamic and have a strong tendency of moving back to their old ways and places. Retainers, made out of thick .76mm thermoplastic polyurethane, are designed to keep your teeth from shifting back into their original position. Think of your retainer as your new friend who will lock your teeth into place, protecting them from wear and tear at the same time.
Now, let’s be honest: new habits are hard to form. How often do find yourself jumping out of bed, only to realize you slept without your retainer? In all honesty, you don’t really have to panic if this just happened once or twice. But if forgetting to wear it becomes a habit, happening more frequently than you’d like to admit, you need to be super cautious, as this may eventually cause significant movement in your teeth.
Here are a few tips to help you NOT forget your retainer ever again:
Write it down: Notes can help you keep organized. Write a set of clear instructions and put them somewhere that is convenient for you, such as the mirror or near your toothbrush. Make it fun and make it something that reminds you how important your retainer is.
Keep calm, stay alarmed: Get tech support! Let your mobile phone do the job for you by setting up an alarm or a daily reminder in your calendar. Be reminded automatically to put your retainer in, every single day.
- Keep it safe: A removable retainer should be kept in a case, so that you don’t misplace it, lose it or accidentally throw it away. It would be even better if you put the case in a brightly colored, larger bag and always remember to keep this in the same spot.
- Keep it clean: When is the right time to clean your retainer? It is best to do this immediately, every time you take out the retainer. This way, you won’t have any kind of excuse keeping you from wearing it late at night when you are most tired.
- Be consistent: Let your retainer be part of your daily life. Try using effective memory techniques to make sure you wear it when you need to. For example, choose to wear your retainer when you turn off your laptop, or when you get ready for bed. Develop your own personalized routine and you will be more likely to not forget your retainer again.
- Learn from the Worst: Sometimes bad examples prove to be more helpful than positive reinforcement. If the idea of a dazzling smile does not motivate you enough to NOT forget your retainer, try checking online for pictures where teeth relapsed into their original position. (And remind yourself how miserable braces can be…)
- Ask for help: If you’ve already ticked all items off our list but nothing seems to do the trick, don’t be shy to ask for help. Let your roommates and family kindly remind you about your retainer. They love your smile as much as you do… and they definitely don’t want to see it go astray.
All in all, understanding how important your retainer is for the appearance and health of your teeth is the first step you need to take to make sure you don’t forget to wear it. From there, you can select the tips that suit you the best.
Remember, your orthodontist is happy to work with you too. We care about that beautiful smile we’ve helped you create! Let’s make sure it never moves out of place.
That smile looks good on you!