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Tips For Wearing and Getting Used to a Retainer

Wearing aligners or retainers can be a bit of a personal journey. You’ll need to learn what works best for you along the way, but you don’t have to struggle through. Why not ‘cheat’ your way to a better start with our life hacks! We asked two retainer wearers to share the retainer tips and tricks that worked for them.

Be Organized when Wearing Your Retainer

If there’s a watchword for new aligner and retainer wearers, it’s “organize.” From eating to cleaning and working to socializing, living with a removable dental appliance requires some adjustment to your daily habits and routines.

Love Your Retainer or Aligner Case

After taking them out of your mouth, the next place for your aligner or retainer is in the retainer case provided. You’re unlikely to get a spare aligner, but you can get several retainer cases.

Make sure you carry it. If you take it out and put it in tissue paper you may forget, but if it’s in a box on the table, you’re not going to forget about it.

Pockets Are Your Friends

Once your aligner or retainer is in their appliance case, you’ll need to think about where to keep it when you’re out and about. If you carry a bag, you can keep it in there. If you’re worried about losing your bag, leaving it in a cloakroom or you just like to travel light, make sure you wear something with pockets. Or, at least, make sure you have a willing friend who does. You may find you need to plan a bit more creatively in the summer than the winter.

If you really have no choice and it’s only for a short time, then you may decide to leave your aligner or retainer at home. This is not ideal as it could disrupt your treatment plan. Just be prepared, because lost or broken aligners and retainers can be a real set-back.

The Head-Shake Maneuver

There will be situations where you decide to take your aligner or retainer out, such as at a restaurant. While you want to leave it in as long as possible, ideally, you’d plan to do this beforehand. But things don’t always go to plan: if you forget or if something unexpected is sprung on you, you may not have the chance to excuse yourself to find a quiet spot or restroom. If you have no choice and have to take it out in front of others, there’s no need to be embarrassed. Be confident, take it out and pop it straight into your case.

To Snack, Or Not to Snack?

If you like snacks between meals, then aligners and retainers may come with a downside: you will have to brush your teeth afterwards. It may help to keep a small toothbrush accessible in your bag or pocket so you can quickly brush your teeth. If you don’t want this hassle, you can restrict your eating to specific times. This may happen naturally as you settle into your new routines.

Avoid Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks are not good to leave sitting next to your teeth inside an aligner or retainer. Water is the ideal drink, but after you’ve quenched your thirst and kept hydrated it can have limited appeal. Try finding sugar-free alternatives to dilute or substitute in your usual drinks, such as replacing tonic with seltzer or even water. They may taste strange at first, but once your taste buds have adjusted to having less sugar, you may even prefer it.

Time It Right

You’re likely to have to get used to doing some unusual things in public places, like brushing and cleaning your retainers away from the comfort of your home. If you’re the type of person who may be embarrassed by this, then you can make adjustments: work out a time when public or office restrooms are less busy to have the privacy to clean your retainer.

Dental Cleaning Tablets Could Be Your Must-Have Accessory

If there’s one thing you’ll be doing a lot more of with an aligner or retainer, it’s oral hygiene. Whether it’s bad breath in the morning, trapped food particles or sugary drinks, cleaning is a vital part of looking after your aligner, retainer and mouth.

Careful brushing and cleaning of any removable appliance can take time and patience. Polident Pro Guard & Retainer Antibacterial Cleanser can help to leave your retainer, aligner or guard crystal-clear. Polident Pro Guard Daily Cleanser tablets are suitable for cleaning removable oral appliances [such as: clear retainers, wired retainers, sports guards, mouth guards, gum shields, night guards, removable braces].* Another option keeping your retainer clean is Polident 3-Minute Denture Cleanser. Don’t let the name fool you, this fast-acting tablet isn’t just for dentures and kills 99.9% of odor causing bacteria on your removable oral appliances.**

All dental appliances should be removed to be cleaned at least once a day, or otherwise directed by your dental professional. You can find out more about cleaning here and about specialist cleaning tablets here.

Place A Glass of Water by Your Bed

If you get thirsty when wearing an aligner or retainer, then keep a glass of water by the bed. If you find you’re getting dry or chapped lips, then simply apply some lip balm or Vaseline before you go to sleep. Check with your healthcare provided if dryness persists.

Kiss Kiss

While dental appliances might seem like a mood killer, they don’t have to spoil that romantic moment. Depending on how comfortable you feel, you may find it easier to be open about needing to take them out. Even if you’re not ready to share that detail, then it helps to find a quiet moment to take them out. Either way, most people won’t mind – just remember to place them in the appliance case!

*in laboratory tests, when used as directed

** in laboratory tests