How to Get Used to an Orthodontic Retainer

Written by eric knudsen
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How to Get Used to an Orthodontic Retainer
Moving from braces to a retainer can be a difficult adjustment, but there are simple ways to make the transition easier. (Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Following the removal of braces from your teeth, you may be required to wear an orthodontic retainer in order to maintain the position of your teeth. The first few weeks of wearing the retainer are often a period of adjustment, as it can be unusual to have a new dental gadget in your mouth. It can initially be uncomfortable and make it hard for you to speak. However, with some basic techniques and information, you'll be well on your way to getting used to your new retainer.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Toothbrush

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  1. 1

    Clean your retainer regularly. Brush your retainer at least once a day with a toothbrush in the same way you would brush your teeth. Cleaning the retainer will keep it from developing a foul odour and will also prevent the possibility of it carrying germs into your mouth.

  2. 2

    Wear your retainer often. Stick to the schedule that your orthodontist has assigned you. For example, it may be 24 hours a day for one year, or only at night for two years. The more you wear your retainer, the more effectively it will retain your teeth and the more rapidly you will adjust to the feeling of having it in your mouth.

  3. 3

    Practice speaking. One of the most discouraging parts about using a new retainer is that it will initially affect your speech. This will most certainly improve with practice. Say your ABC's out loud often in order to practice different speech sounds. Read aloud from a book or magazine for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day. The more you practice, the quicker your speech will improve.

  4. 4

    Attend to any problems immediately. For example, if you feel the retainer is not a proper fit, address the problem with your orthodontist. If sores develop or you experience pain, contact him as well. Do not hesitate to ask about anything you are experiencing that you are suspicious about. The sooner you address any issues, the sooner you will adjust to the retainer.

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