How long will I have to wear a retainer?
Your dental provider will likely recommend you wear the retainer day and night (full-time) for at least four to six months. After that, you’ll need to wear the teeth retainer at night (part-time) for the rest of your life.
Can retainers move teeth back?
If you stop wearing your retainer and your teeth move, going back to wearing the retainer might move the teeth back to their aligned position. But don’t wait too long — the more your teeth shift, the harder it is to get the retainer to fit right.
How do I take care of my retainer?
Prevent your retainer from getting damaged or lost so it’ll last a long time. You can keep it in great condition by cleaning it at least once a day. Follow these tips so you don’t break or lose your retainer:
- Take your retainer out of your mouth when you eat.
- When you’re not wearing the retainer, put it back in its case.
- Don’t chew gum while wearing your retainer.
- Never put the retainer in your pocket or purse unless it’s in the case.
- Avoid wrapping your retainer in a napkin, which can make it easy to accidentally throw it away.
- Keep your retainer away from pets who might chew it.
- Don’t leave your retainer in a hot place, like a car or stovetop, where it can melt.
- Always brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before putting your retainer back in.
These guidelines can help keep your retainer clean:
- Brush your removable retainer regularly with antibacterial soap and water. (Some toothpastes are too abrasive and may harm your retainer.)
- Rinse your retainer with warm water after brushing and flossing.
- You may be able to use an effervescent cleanser for some types of retainers. Ask your dental provider for more information about cleaning your retainer.
- If your retainer turns yellow, gently scrub it with water, baking soda and a soft toothbrush.
- For a fixed retainer, practice good oral hygiene and floss around it.
- Talk to your dental provider about care instructions specific to your retainer. They can show you how to clean it.
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