What to Do with Your Damaged Orthodontic Retainer?

What to Do with Your Damaged Orthodontic Retainer?

What will you say if you are asked what is the key ingredient to a confident smile? The answer is simple – a set of straight teeth that are maintained with sufficient love and care. And the combination of a confident smile with straighter teeth is definitely appealing aesthetically for everyone cutting across both gender and age divides. Improved aesthetic appeal is the most popular reason why people willingly get braces as soon as they can.

As an important part of orthodontic treatment with braces, you have to wear retainers. These are orthodontic appliances that help the teeth retain their corrected position. Yet circumstances arise at certain times when the retainers get broken or damaged. How to deal with broken retainers?

Let us explore the answer in the following section. If you want to straighten your teeth with invisalign in London or anywhere else, it is important that you also equip yourself with the right knowledge about how to cope with the issue of broken or damaged retainers. Here we go!

When you need retainer maintenance

Once your orthodontic treatment is finally over and you stop wearing the braces, your teeth are likely to undergo a relapse. In easier words, it means the teeth may sink back into their initial position at the starting of the treatment. That is why treatment aftercare is important and in the post-treatment phase patients are told to wear retainers. A retainer retains the teeth in their newly shifted position and preventing them from a relapse.

While you are on retainers, the issue of retainer maintenance becomes relevant. In fact, from time to time you are likely to have issues centered on those retainers. On the flip side, the need for retainer maintenance may not be so prominent for you to take note off. All you will ever notice is the teeth are sinking back into their earlier crooked position.

As a matter of fact, a retainer may break while you try chewing on a hard food item. Even an injury to the mouth – like those common in contact sports – or normal wear and tear can damage retainers. Let us explore 3 tell-tale signs that confirm your existing retainer is badly damaged and needs immediate replacement.

The retainer feels loose on the teeth

in course of time, orthodontic retainers are bound to get widened. At one point in time, it will get so wide that it will feel loose around the teeth. That is the time to replace the existing retainer with a new one.

If you ignore the warning signal and continue with the old one, your teeth will be prone to shift back to their initial crooked position. Thus, you may again require braces which will cost you both more time and money.

When the retainer does not fit

you should never ever clean your orthodontic retainer in boiling water or dishwasher. Because that makes it lose its shape. If you feel the retainer has undergone a change in shape, contact your orthodontist immediately. Obviously, you have to get a new retainer when the existing one fits no more.

On the other hand, when you wear the retainer after a long break, the teeth may hurt. But this is not a sign of a broken retainer.

Retainer develops tiny cracks

Retainers can either be a wire, of plastic, or a combination of both. If you are on a plastic retainer, see whether it has developed tiny cracks. If there are, it is high time to get it replaced with a new one.

When you ignore replacing the damaged item, the cracks get bigger with time. This reduces the efficiency of the orthodontic appliance to hold your teeth in place.  And your teeth undergo relapse you have to get the braces anew.

What to do with damaged/broken retainers

First assess the damage level

Maintenance of retainers varies from case to case. Up to a certain extent of damage you can still wear cracked retainers. Unless and until a crack splits the retainer tray, you can keep using it. Even with a minute crack, an aligner can still hold your teeth in the right position. However, if a crack splits a retainer then you must have it replaced. A split retained cannot hold the teeth in the right position. Moreover, it makes you prone to gum injuries. Therefore, replacement is a must. Never try to fix a crack retainer by yourself using standard adhesives that are available in the market. Most of those products are toxic chemicals that can negatively affect your health. You should always approach experts for repairing broken orthodontic retainers.

Contact your orthodontist

once you have gauged the level of damage the retainer has sustained, do schedule an appointment with your orthodontist. Let the oral health expert assess the retainer and come up with a solution for you. In such cases, people usually switch over to the next set of retainers or order a new one depending on the time factor. If the damaged retainer has only 3 to 4 days of life then people switch over to the next retainer in the series. But if sufficient time is left before switching over to the next one then one orders a new retainer. If you switch over to the next retainer more than 4 days ahead of schedule, you may develop certain complications like loss of tooth root.

Proper cleaning tips for orthodontic retainers

Remember improper cleaning of retainers often leads to damages and cracks. You should follow the right cleaning procedures discussed below.

  • Never use any alcohol base mouthwash to clean retainers
  • Rinse the orthodontic appliance only in lukewarm water
  • Do not store it in a napkin
  • Never use too hot or cold water to clean it
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to clean it
  • Brush it gently in tiny circular motion
  • To get rid of calcium build-up, soak it in denture
  • Always be careful while storing your retainers

The orthodontist who straightens your teeth with invisalign in London or for that matter anywhere else will share all these useful tips at the right time for sure.


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