When you take care of your braces or Invisalign® results correctly, you can have a beautiful straightened smile for life! It is common for orthodontic patients to need to wear retainers for the rest of their lives to ensure that their teeth do not shift out of position again after completing their treatment. A single retainer, however, will not last you that long. In order to keep your smile straight and healthy, here are the top four signs that it’s time to get a new one.

There are small cracks in your retainer.

Take a close look at your retainer the next time you wear it—do you see any small cracks or chips? Damaged retainers are one of the most obvious signs that they need to be replaced. It may seem like these cracks are small now, but they will only grow over time. It won’t be long before your retainer can’t keep your teeth in their ideal position.

Your retainer feels loose or uncomfortable.

Having a retainer that doesn’t fit well is another sign that it needs to be replaced. Your retainer will naturally wear down and lose its shape over time. It will also weaken faster if it is soaked in harsh cleaning chemicals or strong mouthwashes. It will not be able to hold your teeth in place effectively if it does not fit closely against your teeth. You may also lose the shape of your retainer if you grind your teeth at night or clean it with boiling water or in the dishwasher. A poorly fitting retainer will not only fail to keep your teeth straight, but could also cause harm to your jaws, teeth, or soft tissues. When it does not fit properly, it is best to have it replaced as soon as possible.

There is too much calcium buildup on your retainer.

Your retainer can begin to build up calcium, even if you practice good dental habits. The white-yellow material is also known as tartar, which is hardened plaque. The rough surface is porous enough to accumulate bacteria, which can cause oral health issues. In the same way that tartar builds up on your teeth, it can only be removed by a dentist or orthodontist. Replace your retainer if you notice calcium buildup on it.

The retainer smells bad.

Does your retainer smell like morning breath? It is most likely caused by an accumulation of oral bacteria. The mouth contains over 700 different types of bacteria, which easily accumulate during the night as you sleep. These particles will decay if you do not maintain proper oral hygiene, releasing foul-smelling gases and making your retainer stink. This is not only unpleasant, but it puts you at a higher risk of oral health issues like gum disease and cavities. Replace your retainer if it smells bad to keep your smile healthy and fresh!

In order to maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment, you must wear your retainer. By replacing your retainer every few years, you can keep your new, beautiful smile for life.

Our orthodontic office is proud to assist patients of all ages in achieving straighter, healthier smiles and maintaining them for life. From pediatric orthodontics to adult braces and everything in between, we are confident in our treatment. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465