The Long Run | 3 Tips on Retention and Using a Retainer

One of the best moments for a patient, their family, and even us here at the office is the moment that the braces come off for good. It’s a truly emotional experience for everyone involved. Whether you used traditional metal braces, Invisalign, or Incognito braces, and regardless of how perfect the teeth aligned, “retaining” the alignment is a long term process. Everything on your body changes over time, so preventing the teeth from moving over time is paramount to keeping that perfect smile. Here’s a few tips about using a retainer over time.

When Should I Replace My Retainer?

There are a few things to keep in mind that will help answer this question. For one, you need to replace it if it doesn’t fit anymore. Also, if it gets damaged, clearly you’ll need a new one. And finally, from regular use, wear and tear will occur.

Doesn’t Fit

The first day you’re fit for a retainer it should fit perfectly. If this isn’t the case, be honest with your family orthodontist to have a new one fit correctly. Your responsible for wearing your retainer as prescribed, to prevent movement. As you age, your teeth will move naturally, which is why you’re wearing it in the first place. If you don’t wear it as you’re supposed to, the teeth will move and could cause the retainer to not fit correctly. This means a new one is in order.


Stuff happens. Having something used so prevalently, your retainer being damaged is very possible. Dropping, sitting on, stepping on the retainer happens all the time. The best way to prevent damage is to wear it, and keep it in it’s case if you aren’t!

Worn Out

Once again, if you wear something everyday, it’s going to experience wear and tear. Think about other things you wear on a daily basis, and their shelf life. Sneakers for example, how long to those last? How about contact lenses? Every patient is different, so the time taken to need to replace varies. A few signs that it’s too worn out would be calcium buildup, discoloration, distortion, broken joints, or loose fit. Simple test, Does it gross you out putting it in your mouth one night? Yeah. It’s time.

Hopefully these little tips help better understand when it’s time to talk to your family orthodontist about getting a new retainer. Stay tuned to our blog for more helpful tips and information on everything braces for children, teens, and adults. If you want to talk to someone from our office about a question about your child’s retainer, just give us a call!

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