Teens are notorious for not listening to adults, but they have to learn how to look after retainers properly if they don’t want to lose the progress made with their braces.
Many people have to wear retainers after getting their braces off or just to straighten very minor issues. If it’s not cared for properly, alignment issues can easily worsen.
Explain Why It’s Important
The first step in teaching your teen how to look after retainers is to explain why it’s important. Your teen may simply assume that they’ve already been through enough and don’t actually need the retainer.
The bone that surrounds the tooth has a more spongy nature, which is why teeth are able to be moved via braces. However, that bone is still weak after months and years of the teeth moving while wearing braces. It takes time for everything to heal. If a retainer isn’t worn properly, the teeth will move back into a misaligned state. Ask your teen if they really want to have to start wearing braces all over again? Odds are, they’d much rather wear their retainer.
Follow All Orthodontist Instructions
Every teen will get specific instructions from their orthodontist about how often they need to wear their retainer. These instructions must be followed exactly. Don’t be afraid to put the details on your refrigerator, set reminders on your teen’s phone and check with them multiple times a day until they get into the right habit.
How To Look After Retainers
Just getting your teen to wear their retainer regularly is half the battle. Now, you have to teach them how to look after retainers. Some tips to keep in mind include:
- Avoid any sticky or hard foods while wearing the retainer (think the same diet as with braces)
- Take out the retainer when eating (if the retainer is removable)
- Store the retainer in a safe container when it’s out (avoid putting it on napkins or trays so it doesn’t get tossed out)
- Rinse it thoroughly before putting it back in your mouth
- Soak the retainer in denture cleaner at least monthly
- Brush and floss regularly, including brushing over the retainer and rinsing it
Overall, it’s much easier to care for a retainer than braces. While it will take some work initially, your teen can learn how to look after retainers without much trouble.
If you have any questions, contact our office today and we’ll be happy to help guide your teen.