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Is It Time to Replace Your Retainers? Orthodontist Recommendation

After your orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will give you a retainer to help keep your teeth in their new position. It’s normal to need new retainers after years of wear and tear depending on the type of retainers you have. However, how often you replace it will depend on how you take care of it and many other factors.

Here’s what you need to know about replacing your retainer so you can determine when it’s time.

Type of Orthodontic Retainers

Depending on your retainer, you may need to replace it more or less frequently.

There are three types of retainers:

  • Hawley retainers: These retainers have a metal wire that surrounds the teeth and keeps them in place.
  • Essix retainers: These clear retainers are almost invisible and fit snugly over your teeth. They look similar to Invisalign® and don’t have any wires or metal.
  • Permanent retainers: As the name suggests, these retainers are permanent and adhere to the back of your teeth.

On average, you should be able to get at least twelve months out on your Essix retainer and about five years out of a Hawley retainer. Permanent retainers can last many years, and you will only have to replace them if they break.

Signs You Need New Retainers

There are a few signs you may need a new retainer, including:

  • Your retainer no longer fits snugly over your teeth.
  • It’s become discolored or stained.
  • The plastic is cracked or warped.
  • You can no longer clean it effectively.
  • Your pet ate it.
  • You lost it.
  • You have been wearing it for more than a year.

If you’re unsure whether you need a new retainer, the best thing to do is consult with your orthodontist.

Not Wearing Your Retainers

When your orthodontic treatment is over, your orthodontist will provide specific instructions on how often you should wear your retainer. Wearing it as directed will help to prolong its lifespan. Failure to do so can cause your teeth to shift. And if this happens, you will need to replace it.

Not wearing your retainer for a few days or even a week may not cause your teeth to move. However, if you go for an extended period without wearing it, your teeth will migrate back to their original position. And if they move too much, you will no longer be able to wear your retainer.

It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s instructions to prevent needing a new retainer or further orthodontic treatment.

How to Prolong Your Retainers’ Life

There are several ways you can prolong the life of your retainer, including:

  • Remove it before eating or drinking.
  • Avoid chewing gum while wearing it.
  • Clean it every day
  • Store it in a case when you’re not wearing it.

Following these simple tips can keep you from having to replace your retainers frequently.

Final Thoughts

Retainers are a necessary part of orthodontics, and replacing your retainer every year or whenever it breaks is normal. However, consider the type of retainer you have, how well you take care of it, and how often you wear it. The better you treat your retainer, the longer it will last.

If you have concerns or questions about your retainer, contact Dr. Yazji today.

About the Author Maria Yazji