How to Adjust to a Retainer After Braces

Everyone who has braces will have a retainer. No exceptions. No returns. No negotiations. Retainers are a must-have after any type of orthodontic treatment. They keep newly aligned teeth in place so those months and years of hard work aren’t for nothing. Adjusting to a retainer, though, isn’t easy for every orthodontic patient. Get the scoop on how to cope when you reach this milestone.

Prepare for the Inevitable

Sometimes patients are so eager to get hardware off their teeth they haven’t stopped to consider what’s next. The orthodontic journey isn’t over – in fact, a new stage is about to begin. Even if you wear Invisalign, you’ll need a retainer once you’re done.

  • Talk to your orthodontist about what a retainer after braces will feel like.
  • Find out if you must wear a certain type of retainer or if you have options, like a permanent retainer or a clear aligner.
  • Discuss the rules for wearing a retainer. Is it all day in the beginning and then every night? Or is it only every night?

Knowing what’s coming makes every transition that much easier, especially for someone in braces. Your orthodontic team is always ready to help you understand what’s next, so ask all the questions you have, ask for examples of retainers, and learn everything you need to know to feel comfortable about this switch from braces to retainer. After all, you’ll be wearing that retainer for the rest of your life.

Be Patient

When you get brackets and wires off your teeth, your smile is going to look amazing – it’s also going to feel pretty weird. You adjusted to hardware on your teeth and now it’s time to adjust to life without it and with a retainer – and that requires patience. Here’s what to expect:

  • Your teeth could be a little sore from the removal of the braces.
  • Gums might be inflamed.
  • You might have a lisp for the first several days when wearing the retainer.
  • Your retainer will be very snug at first and could cause some discomfort.
  • It will take practice to get the retainer in and out.

Create a Routine

What’s most important about your retainer after braces is making sure you wear it as instructed and clean it regularly to maintain its clear appearance and keep it free from odors. Taking care of the retainer also means you’re taking good care of your teeth too to avoid tooth decay. Here are some of the best practices for routine retainer maintenance:

  • Rinse and brush the retainer daily with water, but don’t use toothpaste.
  • Soak the retainer weekly in your orthodontist’s recommended treatment tablets.
  • Keep the retainer in its case when you’re not wearing it.
  • Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before putting the retainer in place.

Get Support from Your Orthodontist

A retainer after braces is such an important tool – it keeps those straight, beautiful teeth firmly in place after a major investment and time commitment. Talk to Dr. Soleil and her team at Soleil Orthodontics to learn more about your retainer after braces. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

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