What are retainers?
Retainers can be fixed or removable. Removable retainers are made from plastic and custom-made to tightly hug your teeth to stop them from moving. Long-term, you’ll only need to wear your removable retainers at night.
Removable retainers are crystal clear, and you can keep them looking pristine using special cleaning tablets. You’ll need to replace your removable retainers from time to time. If you stop wearing your retainers later in life, there’s always a chance your teeth could move.
Fixed retainers consist of a thin metal wire that we attach behind your front teeth. This wire will remain in place indefinitely – or until it wears out and needs replacing. Fixed retainers are hassle-free and an easy way to prevent any unwanted movement.
Some common retainer mishaps
Removable retainers can break or go missing for many different reasons, but here are some more common cautionary tales.
The dog ate your retainers
When they’re not eating homework, dogs are very partial to an unguarded retainer. Even if you can retrieve your retainer unscathed, we don’t recommend putting it back in your mouth. Always store your retainers safely in their case to avoid them becoming a snack for your furry friend.
You wrapped your retainers in tissue
When you take your retainers out, once you’ve rinsed them, it can be tempting to wrap them in tissue to help them dry. If you’re unlucky, they might get forgotten and mistaken for rubbish, finding their way to the bin. If you’re diligent about storing your retainers in their case, it should become second nature.
Your retainer snapped in half
Retainers are fairly strong and flexible and cope well with being taken in and out of your mouth. However, under excess pressure, your retainers will break, so take care when you’re handling and cleaning them.
You melted your retainers
If you treat your retainers to a soak with some cleaning tablets, make sure the water is warm but not hot. If it’s too hot, the plastic will melt and lose its shape, and your retainers won’t fit your teeth.
Your retainers wore out
Eventually, your retainers will wear out, and you’ll need to replace them. You may notice that they’re starting to crack or feel loose. It’s always wise to replace your retainers early on – before they stop doing their job.
What if you can’t wear your retainers?
If you damage or misplace your retainers, we’ll need to replace them swiftly, before your teeth start to relapse. Once your teeth have shifted, you will most likely need braces again to correct any movement.
Contact us as soon as you think there’s a problem. We 3D print our retainers in-house to provide a quick turnaround time.
Depending on how much time has passed, we may be able to print your retainers from your previous set of impressions. If your teeth have moved very slightly, your new retainers should be able to squeeze them back into line.
If we need to take new impressions, your retainers will be made to fit your teeth in their new positions. If you want to correct any movement, we’ll do this first, before we fit your retainers.
Treating orthodontic relapse
If you do want to consider braces again, we can explore all your options. Correcting orthodontic relapse is usually quick and straightforward.
You can choose from clear Invisalign aligners, clear and metal fixed braces.
Your treatment will include removable retainers and one year of aftercare. Fixed retainers are an excellent option if you’d like some extra peace of mind for the future.