Matthew J. Olmsted, DDS MS

Diplomate, American Board of Orthodontics

Specializing in

Invisalign & Braces



2205 Oak Ridge Road, Suite CC * Oak Ridge, North Carolina 27310

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(336) 441-8301

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When to Wear the Retainer

Relapse can occur shortly after having the braces removed, which is why the retainer should be worn as often as possible. With relapse, it means the teeth start moving back to their original position without having the braces on. By wearing retainers, the teeth can start stabilizing in their new position. Your orthodontist will let you know exactly when and how long to wear the retainer. On average, patients wear the retainer for six months day and night, though after that and for the next couple years, you may only need to wear it at night. If you have a fixed retainer, expect to wear it 3-5 years.

Taking Your Retainer Out

While you should wear your retainer at all times, there are certain times when it needs to be taken out. For example, whenever you are eating (and sometimes drinking), you should take out the retainer. You also want to remove it when swimming. Make sure when you remove the retainer, you place it safely back in its case. This keeps it safe and clean, without the risk of being stolen or a dog chewing on it. If the retainer is left out in the open, it could accumulate bacteria, which can then get into your mouth.

Cleaning the Retainer

The retainer must also be cleaned once a day, everyday. To clean the retainer, rinse it in warm water, then use a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean it on all sides. Brushing the retainer will remove bacteria and plaque from it, and eliminate possible odors of the device. You don’t want to put a dirty retainer back in your mouth, or you risk bacteria getting into your mouth.

Additional Retainer Tips and Facts

When you first get the retainer, expect it to take a little while to get used to speaking with it. This is similar to when you first got your braces, it just takes some getting used to. You can try speaking out loud while wearing the retainer to make this a smoother process. Also remember the retainer can break, so be very careful with it, and contact your orthodontist if you notice it has broken. You may also need to get the retainer adjusted, so talk to your orthodontist about getting this done. When you visit the orthodontist, regardless of the type of appointment, always bring your retainer with you. Lastly, make sure you keep the retainer away from napkins, pockets, washing machines, and extra hot temperatures, like hot water or a dashboard.

Dr. Olmsted is committed to providing quality dental care to patients in Oak Ridge, Stokesdale, Madison, Colfax, Summerfield, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.  If you would like a consultation, call us at 336-441-8301.

Retainer Instructions

A retainer is something most people need after they are finished with their orthodontic treatment, such as having their braces removed. The retainer is worn for a certain period of time to help the teeth hold their new positions. Different people wear the retainers in different ways, with some only needing to wear it at night, while other patients have to wear them all day, every day for a few months. They are custom-made to fit comfortably over the teeth and help them retain their new position.