If you have just gotten your braces off or have undergone, or are currently undergoing Invisalign treatment, the retainers you will wear are important in ensuring your teeth stay in their new, corrected position. In this post, our BC orthodontists what to do if your retainer breaks, and what you should do if your retainer is broken.
The Importance of Replacing a Broken Retainer
After receiving orthodontic treatment, patients should know how important it is to wear their retainer consistently. Patients will often decide for themselves that they have been wearing their retainer long enough, and will stop wearing them, or not bother to replace a damaged one.
However, it is extremely important to continue to wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist and replace a broken one as soon as possible. Although it may seem tedious, wearing your retainer as directed is a key part of your treatment and maintaining your new smile. Your retainer is used to help prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original place while your jaw bone has time to heal.
Identifying the Signs of a Damaged Retainer
When wearing a retainer after your orthodontic treatment, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of damage. A broken or damaged retainer may not serve its purpose as well as it should, which could impact the outcome, or prolong your treatment. Our BC orthodontists would like to share some signs of damage to watch for.
Cracks in Your Retainer
Retainers can be made of plastic, wire, or a combination of the two. If you have a plastic retainer, you should frequently check to see if there are any cracks. If you happen to notice even a small crack or two, contact your orthodontist as you may need a new retainer. Your orthodontist may also be able to instruct you on how to fix a cracked retainer
If you continue to use a retainer that has cracks in it, they will only get bigger. This will result in your retainer losing its strength, and its ability to hold your teeth in their corrected positions. If this does occur, it may mean that you will have to wear a retainer for an extended period of time, and in severe cases, you may need to have braces put back on.
Your Retainer Feels Loose or Doesn't Fit
Retainers are bound to wear down over time and can result in the retainer widening. If this occurs, your retainer will feel loose around your teeth and you will require a replacement.
If you wash your retainer in the dishwasher or with boiling water, it can cause the retainer to lose its shape. If you see or feel that your retainer has lost its shape, talk to your orthodontist as soon as you can. When your retainer no longer fits, consider getting a retainer repair or a new retainer.
If you don’t wear your retainer as frequently as you should, you may feel some discomfort, or feel like it doesn't fit when you go to wear it again. This is not an indication of a broken retainer. If you haven't worn your retainer in a while, don't worry, you won't likely need to get a new one.
What to Do if Your Retainer Breaks
Breaking your retainer can be a frustrating and expensive situation. But, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage and get back to wearing your retainer as soon as possible.
The first thing you should do is call your orthodontist. They may be able to give you instructions on how you can repair your current retainer before needing to get a replacement.
If your retainer breaks into pieces, gather them all, rinse them off, put them in a safe place, and call your orthodontist right away. They may be able to advise you on how to fix it yourself, or they may require you to go in for a visit. Either way, you need to act quickly to get the issue sorted out immediately.
It may be necessary for your orthodontist to make new moulds of your teeth, so it is important to inform them of your broken retainer as soon as possible.
Preventing Your Retainer From Damage
When thinking about how you can protect your retainer from damage, it is important to remember that retainers are delicate, so they should be handled with care. When you’re not wearing your retainer, store it in a safe place to avoid it becoming bent or broken. Having a hard case for your retainer is more likely to prevent damage.
It’s important to clean your retainer regularly. Just like your teeth, plaque and bacteria can build up on the surface of a retainer, so it’s important to give it a thorough brushing at least once a day. Soaking your retainer in soap and water or retainer cleaner at least once a week can help kill any bacteria left on the surface of the retainer.
Caring for your retainer might seem like a bit of a pain, but it’s really quite simple. By following these simple tips, you can help prevent your retainer from damage, and get the most out of it without having to have it fixed or replaced.