You’re at the end of a long road: after so long, your clear aligner or braces treatment is complete! Unsurprisingly, you’re absolutely in love with your smile and now want to show it off. Needless to say, this is something you want to last for the rest of your life. It’s certainly what you deserve to be able to do with it.

Keeping your new smile in great condition is best done by consistently wearing your retainer. That said, retainers will eventually show signs of wear and tear. At that point, they will need replacement. Thankfully, proper care will go a long way to extend the lifespan of your retainer, so you can make the most of it until it needs to be replaced.

As previously mentioned, how well a retainer is taken care of depends on how it’s been cared for. Sometimes, people put their retainer in napkins and then end up mistaking it for trash, so they accidentally throw it out. In other cases, retainers are left on a table only for pets to get a hold of it.

It’s possible to get removable retainers that are custom and clear. Retainers can last for a decade all the way to 15 years more before replacement is needed. Read on to learn about the signs that your retainer needs to be replaced:

Holes can result from your toothpaste or grinding your teeth. Scratching and wearing holes into the plastic isn’t good for your retainer. Should the fit be too tight or too loose, this can cause damage as well. Retainers should fit comfortably.

The most common reason for damage to retainer wires is bruxism or grinding your teeth. Stress and anxiety cause bruxism, which exerts as much as a hundred pounds of pressure per bite. 

Chips can get lodged between your teeth or in your gums, reducing the effectiveness of your retainer and potentially causing damage to your cheeks or tongue. Having a cracked or chipped retainer will not be conducive.

The initial sign that your retainer is at the end of its life is when you notice small cracks in the plastic, or you drop it and it gets a large dent, as the cracks in the retainer can get larger and larger over time, making it less effective for straightening your teeth. 

Further cracks will create gaps where lots of food can get caught, and bacteria can grow, which will make your gums sore and can lead to bad breath and tooth decay. If you notice cracks in your retainer, or if it has been dropped, you should get a new one.

Retainers are an important part of dental care after treatment with braces or a clear aligner. They can last for 10 to 15 years when properly cared for, barring particular wear and tear. Signs of a replacement being necessary include a cracked retainer and the appearance of any holes. If you notice these indications, you need to replace your retainers as soon as possible.

Looking for an orthodontist in Manassas, VA? Book an appointment at Solarte Orthodontics today! We have a wide range of orthodontic dental services.