Signs that Your Orthodontic Retainers Need to be Replaced

Garden Grove Dental & Orthodontics
(714) 530-4920
Home 9 General Dentistry 9 Signs that Your Orthodontic Retainers Need to be Replaced

If you have gone through the typical 2-3 year process of wearing orthodontic braces or having Invisalign aligners straighten your teeth for 6-18 months, you are eager to start the rest of your life flashing your beautiful new smile.

The Importance of a Retainer

However, orthodontists explain that unless the patient starts wearing a “retainer” after treatment is finished, the straightened teeth are likely to revert to their original crooked positions, a movement that is called “relapse.” To prevent this, a customized mouthpiece made of biocompatible plastic will be created and it is generally recommended that it be worn all day and night for the first few months. Most can be removed when you eat and after the initial period it may only be necessary to wear it at night for a period appropriate to your case, but sometimes for years or even permanently.

A retainer can easily collect oral bacteria (700 species flourish in the mouth) and if it is not cleaned daily these can make a retainer smelly and give you bad breath. Calcium (like tartar, the hardened version of plaque that forms around food particles that are not cleaned by brushing and flossing) can also build up on a retainer and cause it to take on a white or yellow hue. This irritates the gums.

Cleaning Your Retainer

Cold or warm water is needed for cleaning (since hot water can distort the shape) and the retainer should be scrubbed with a toothbrush (other than the one used to brush your teeth). Alternatively, a retainer can be soaked in a solution for half an hour that is half distilled water (so that minerals will not be deposited) and half white vinegar.

Retainers can also suffer wear and tear, even just taking it in and out of the mouth, distorting the shape or causing dents or cracks. and it is important to know when to have a new one made, typically about every two years.

If your retainer is not fitting snugly or is uncomfortable it may mean that your teeth have shifted and you need to have your orthodontist check whether you need further treatment or just a redesigned retainer. 

If you are concerned about the fit of your retainer, call Garden Grove Dental & Orthodontics for an appointment to have a full dental exam.


Free Consultation For Braces and Orthodontics

Booking an appointment at Garden Grove Dental & Orthodontics is simple. Click the link to fill out our online contact form. You can also call us directly to find a time that works best for you. We look forward to seeing you and your family and discovering how we can best serve your dental needs.


12630 Brookhurst St Suite B
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Garden Grove Dental & Orthodontics
ABO Board Certified

(714) 530-4920

Mon - Fri: 8am - 5:30pm
Sat - Sun: Closed

Skip to content