The day your braces come off or your Invisalign treatment ends is exciting – your smile will look so beautiful and healthy! However, from that moment on your teeth will continuously try to shift and move, and your retainer will be the only thing that keeps them in place.
Unfortunately, as many as 35% of teenagers lose their retainer within one year of completing orthodontic treatment – and they end up back at the orthodontist later on! So hanging onto and regularly wearing your retainers is a super important part of keeping your smile looking good for years to come.
How can I avoid losing my retainers?
Retainers can be difficult and costly to replace, not to mention you are vulnerable to teeth shifting every time you don’t wear them! Here are a couple of tips to help you keep track of this important appliance:
Keep a Case
It’s much more common for people to lose retainers when they are not in their designated case. Make a rule that whenever your retainers aren’t in your mouth, you clean them and put them in the case right away. Even when you take them out for something quick like eating breakfast or brushing your teeth, you know what to do – if they’re not on your face, put them in the case!
Stay Up and Away
When they’re out of their case, retainers are like a magnet for pets and small kids. To your dog, they might look like their new favorite chew toy. To your baby sister, they’re an interesting teething ring. Be sure to keep your retainers up and out of reach for pets, children, and anyone else who might accidentally damage them!
Lost and Found
It can be scary to get home after a school day or dinner out, and realize your retainers are no longer around. But fortunately, if they are in a brightly colored case with your contact info inside, they have a much better chance of making their way home! On day 1, label your retainer case with your name and phone number (then see #1 – keep your retainers in their case!)