Retainer over plaster cast of teeth, image via Pxhere, CC0.
Retainer over plaster cast of teeth, image via Pxhere, CC0.

Getting rid of your braces is only the tip of the iceberg. From then on, you need to embrace wearing a retainer that hold the new shape of your teeth in place. Braces work to bring your teeth into shape. However, retainers help maintain the new positioning.

Simply put, teeth have a memory of their own. They work to return to their pre-orthodontic position the moment they are free from the boundaries that the braces had set. At this point, the bone around your newly-positioned teeth isn’t fully formed. Consequently, your teeth are unable to stay stable and hence attempt to deviate from the new alignment.

To this end, retainers, as their name suggests, stop the teeth from returning to their pre-braces positioning. Moreover, aging takes a toll on your teeth like any other part of your body. As you age, your teeth start to shift forward.

This does not happen instantly. Instead, it happens gradually and leaves a noticeable impact on your smile. Retainers can help prevent this situation though, which explains their importance and the need to look after them. This brings us to the essential question of retainer replacement.

When should you replace your retainers?

Looking after your retainer is critical, as these look after your teeth. Essentially, you need to replace your retainers under three circumstances. These situations include:

  • Damaged, broken, or lost retainers
  • Retainers that are worn out from daily wear
  • Retainers that don’t fit correctly any longer

Let’s assess each of these conditions individually.

Your retainer is broken or damaged

In the first case, your retainer is either damaged or broken. It is entirely possible for your retainers to get caught in a crossfire with your sibling. Or, someone sits or steps on them, and you are left staring at your broken retainers.

Damage to your retainers is also possible in the case of your dog chewing on it. If you use thermoformed retainers, you can also inflict damage by placing them in hot water. It is also possible that you end up losing your set of retainers.

In all such incidents, you need to rush to make an appointment with your orthodontist. You don’t want the efforts that you have made for a celebrity smile to go down the drain.

Healthy, beautiful smile; image by Liz20151222, CC BY-SA 4.0, no changes, via Wikimedia Commons.
Healthy, beautiful smile; image by Liz20151222, CC BY-SA 4.0, no changes, via Wikimedia Commons.

Your retainers are worn out from daily wear

In the second case, daily wear and tear tend to loosen your retainers, which then need a replacement. You need to wear retainers for a lifetime to keep your teeth from returning to their original setting. The duration for each session of wearing retainers, however, varies.

In the initial stages, say 3-6 months, you will have to wear retainers almost around the clock. This duration changes according to your orthodontist’s suggestions to night time only. After a year, the retainer-wear time can change to putting them on your teeth every other night.

Since the usage time is significant, wear and tear is only natural. Some signs that indicate the need for replacement include calcium buildup, loose joints, color discoloration or simply a loose fitting.

Your retainer doesn’t fit you

Lastly, you will need to get new retainers if your present set does not fit you. A retainer, which does not fit you at the time you get it, will not fit over time. Hence, it is best to request a replacement immediately.

Besides, it is possible that your retainers don’t fit you after some time. A retainer’s job is to minimize the movement of your teeth. No retainers can stop the movement of your teeth entirely. On your part, you need to keep a check on the movement of your teeth. Ensure that it is as less as possible.

Final words

Your need for getting a replacement determines the best time to replace your retainers. If your retainers don’t fit properly or you have a damaged set at hand, then you need a replacement without further ado. Retainer Replacement Cost can range between $150-$300.

It is okay to change your retainers every few months if they are loose or damaged. To extend the life of your retainers, it is recommended that you take good care of them. Don’t play with the retainers in your mouth. Additionally, don’t bite anything chewy, sticky or hard as that can damage the retainer.

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