After you get your braces removed, chances are your orthodontist will advise you to wear a retainer to keep your new smile in place. In most cases, orthodontists recommend wearing a retainer all the time for the first six months to a year. After that, nightly wearing is recommended to prevent your teeth from shifting and keep your smile in place. Unfortunately, retainers don’t last forever and will likely need replacing every now and then. Here are the top five signs that it’s time to replace your retainer to keep your smile straight and healthy.
Loose or Uncomfortable
One of the most common and obvious signs that it’s time to replace your retainer is if it no longer fits properly. A loose retainer can be uncomfortable and prevent you from speaking or eating normally. An ill-fitting retainer can also lead to more serious problems, such as a lost retainer, breaking your teeth, and even further orthodontic treatment. Most retainers are made of a thin wire that can bend slightly over time and need to be trimmed to fit properly. Be sure to check your retainer every few months to ensure that it’s fitting properly.
Another issue you may notice with a retainer is small cracks. Your retainer is made of a thin wire that is wrapped in a plastic coating to protect both your teeth and your gums. Over time, your retainer can develop small cracks in the plastic coating. However, these cracks are not harmful to your teeth or gums and are a normal part of wearing a retainer. Just make sure to replace your retainer if the cracks become large enough to expose the underlying metal wire.
If your retainer is warped, it may not be as effective in straightening your smile. When your retainer is warped, it no longer fits properly and may not be able to move your teeth into the correct position. If you notice that your retainer has become warped, you should contact your orthodontist to have it replaced.
Another telltale sign that it’s time to replace your retainer is if it starts to smell bad. If you notice that your retainer has a bad odor, it’s likely due to the buildup of calcium. Your retainer is made of a wire that is coated in plastic. Since your retainer is in your mouth 24/7, it’s normal for a small amount of calcium to build up on the surface. However, if you notice that the odor is particularly strong or smells like ammonia, it may be time to replace your retainer.
Significant Calcium Buildup
A sign that it’s time to replace your retainer is if you notice significant calcium buildup on the surface. If you have hard water or live in an area with hard water, the buildup of calcium can be more significant than for those who have soft water. If you notice significant calcium buildup on your retainer, it may mean that you don’t have a proper seal. If not removed, this buildup will continue to grow and can erode your teeth over time.
If you are a teenager or adult with braces, you are likely going to have to wear a retainer for a few months or years to keep your teeth straight after your braces are removed. Many orthodontists recommend wearing your retainer for at least six months to a year to keep your teeth straight after your braces come off. If you are unable to keep your retainer clean and properly fitted, it’s best to get a new one. If your retainer is showing any signs of wear, cracks, or odor, be sure to contact your orthodontist to get a replacement.
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