broken retainers

How NOT to Forget Your Retainer

April 20th, 2018

orthodontics retainer
Wearing a retainer is usually an important step in the treatment process after you or your child gets braces off. However, it can be difficult to remember to wear the retainer and you don’t want to have to go through treatment again.

Missing one night here or there is not usually a big deal, but there are tips to help you remember to keep your teeth straight.

wearing a retainer
Writing down the instructions that the orthodontist in San Tan Valley gave you will help you remember. Whether the orthodontist says to wear a retainer all night, day or just a few hours at certain times, writing instructions down on paper commits them to memory. This is a good time to make sure you understand all the instructions. Be sure to ask your orthodontist if things are unclear.

Every time you take out the retainer, be sure to clean it. If you go to put your retainer back in your mouth and it’s dirty, you may be tempted not to wear it. Take the time to clean it every day, even if you are in a rush.

If you have to wear your retainer to sleep every night, put a note on your mirror reminding you. You can also use notes in your wallet, purse or car if you have to wear it during the day.

Set up daily reminders for when you are supposed to wear the retainer. You can use your phone or an email calendar to set up alarms. Once the alarm goes off, go get your retainer.

If there are only certain times you have to wear your retainer, use a recurring event to help you remember. It could be something like watching a weekly TV show, when you typically do laundry or on a family game night. Use the event to serve as a reminder to put in the retainer.

When you do take out your retainer, make sure that you always remember to put it in its case. This will help reduce the chances of throwing it away or losing it. You won’t have to go through the trouble of getting a new one or having to pay for a replacement.

For some extra motivation, look up pictures of what can happen if you don’t wear the retainer. This works for those who are more visual, and you don’t want the same thing to happen to you. It is also good to remind yourself how much you didn’t like braces. If your teeth shift too much, you will have to go back to wearing braces.

If nothing else is working, ask for help. Let your family or roommates know you need some help and have them kindly remind you to wear your retainer when you are supposed to. Assure your family and friends that it won’t be considered nagging and that you would appreciate their help.

If you find your retainer is uncomfortable or painful and feel like it’s hard to wear, be sure to speak to your orthodontist. It may need to be adjusted to make it more comfortable for wear.

What Should I Do If I Break Or Lose My Retainer?

February 11th, 2018

If a patient has lost or broken a removable retainer -- or if their dog has chomped on it, as sometimes happens -- they shouldn’t panic. They should simply call their Orthodontist in Mesa Az and make an appointment to be fitted with a new one as soon as possible. But things can get complicated when a fixed retainer is broken.

What's a Retainer?

The retainer is a device that helps the patient’s teeth and mouth sustain the improvements that they achieved while they were wearing braces or Invisalign. Some can be taken out, but others are fixed and should only be taken out by the orthodontist. When retainers are broken or lost, the teeth the patient or their parents paid a good bit of money to get straightened start to go back to their old, unwanted positions right away.

One problem about broken fixed retainers is that sometimes the patient doesn’t know that the retainer is broken until they examine their teeth one day and find that they're moving out of alignment. If the patient sees this, they should make an appointment with their orthodontist to have the retainer fixed or replaced.

removable retainer

Of course, such accidents tend to happen on the weekends or at night or on vacation. In the case of a removable retainer, the patient can call their orthodontist, and ask that a new retainer be made along the lines of the old one. The good news is that the orthodontist probably has kept the patient’s retainer molds. The new retainer can be shipped down to the vacation spot, or the patient’s usual orthodontist can refer them to a local orthodontist. Following are other things to consider:

  • Have someone examine the fixed retainer to see if it's stable. A removable retainer can simply be taken out by the patient and examined.
  • The patient should not eat the types of foods they were forbidden to eat while they wore braces, such as foods that were hard or sticky.
  • The patient or their guardian can go to the drug store, and buy a mouth guard. This will protect a fixed retainer during the night, and keep the teeth stable.
  • If the patient has both fixed and removable retainers, it’s especially important to wear the removable retainers if the fixed ones are broken.
  • If the patient has sore spots in their mouth, they should rinse with warm salty water and an antibacterial mouthwash. This will fight bacteria that would take advantage of areas made vulnerable by the broken retainer.

Why Do Fixed Retainers Fail?

Fixed retainers fail because they are deliberately not made to be very strong. They need to be thin because of aesthetic concerns, to make it easy for the patient to take care of their teeth and to let the teeth move just a little bit in the periodontal ligament. This movement keeps the bone of the jaw strong. The glue that holds the retainer to the teeth can also deteriorate or even be damaged when the patient eats or even gets their teeth cleaned at the dentist.

So, don't panic over broken retainers, but make sure they are seen to as soon as practicable.

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