If you’ve recently completed orthodontic treatment, you’re likely transitioning to a retainer phase to maintain your brand-new smile. While you’ve spent time straightening and repositioning your teeth, now you need to make sure those results last. Retainers are custom devices worn after treatment to prevent teeth from shifting back to their original places. Caring for your retainer plays a crucial role in keeping your smile intact post-treatment.

Today, we wanted to share a few dos and don’ts with you. Follow these clear aligner retainer tips to get the most out of your orthodontic investment. 


  • Wear your retainer as directed. We typically instruct you to wear your retainer full-time for the first few months. This will be followed by part-time wear during the night while you sleep. However, follow the specific instructions we give you closely.
  • Rinse thoroughly after eating and brushing before inserting your retainer. Things from your teeth, such as food particles, sticky liquids, or toothpaste residue, can quickly build up on retainers.
  • Clean retainers daily. Use cool water and a soft-bristle toothbrush or retainer cleaning solution to remove any bacteria from your retainer. Avoid hot water or harsh cleaners.
  • Store retainers in a case when you are not wearing them. Pets love to chew retainers! Never wrap them in napkins or paper towels, otherwise, you risk throwing yours away.


  • Stop wearing your retainer prematurely. Teeth shift quickly and will revert to their old positions without wearing your retainer consistently.
  • Use retainers that are damaged or ill-fitting. This can impede their effectiveness and make them uncomfortable. Give us a call if you are having trouble with yours.
  • Clean retainers with toothpaste. The abrasives can create micro-scratches that harbor bacteria and odors.
  • Place retainers in hot water, use bleach or cleaning tablets, or brush vigorously. These can all distort or break down retainers over time.
  • Wrap retainers in napkins or paper towels, leave them loose in pockets/purses, or store them touching. All risk damage and warping.

With proper care, your retainer will keep your bright new smile looking fabulous. 

What If You Haven’t Been Wearing Your Retainer?

Life gets busy. You may find yourself skipping retainer wear more often than you should. If you notice your teeth feeling more crooked or crowded, don’t panic. There are still steps you can take to get your smile back on track:

  • Wear your retainer full-time again for at least a few weeks to allow your teeth to shift back into position.
  • If your retainer feels too tight or doesn’t fit well, schedule an appointment with our tea, right away. Don’t try to modify it yourself.
  • Be honest with our team, so we can assess the current situation and make adjustments to your treatment plan.
  • You may need a new retainer or additional aligners to reposition your teeth again. If it’s been many years, more extensive treatment may be required.
  • Commit to sticking to the revised retainer schedule prescribed by your dentist. Consistency is key for keeping corrections in place.

While inconsistent retainer use can set you back, we can get you back on track. Be diligent about full-time wear to realign your teeth, and follow our recommendations closely to keep your smile looking its best. 

Have questions about your retainer? Or are you worried your teeth are out of alignment because you haven’t been wearing yours? Call Inspiring Smiles at 770-738-4103 for an appointment or schedule online