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5 Tricks for Getting Used to a New Retainer

Although wearing a retainer is worth it in the long run, initially getting used to a retainer in your mouth can be a trickier task than expected. When you’re not used to wearing one, the sudden feeling of having it enclosed around your teeth can be uncomfortable, leading many people to even abandon their retainer altogether.

Don’t worry—that discomfort doesn’t have to last. If you’re caring for your retainer and your orthodontist is making the appropriate minor adjustments, you’ll be used to it in no time.

Here’s what you need to know about how to get used to retainers.

What Causes New Retainers to Be Uncomfortable?

Retainers may feel uncomfortable at first because they’re designed to apply gentle pressure that you aren’t used to having in your mouth. Although you shouldn’t feel any pain, and this pressure is designed to provide long-term benefits (including a beautiful smile!), it can be unnerving to realize that it takes some getting used to.

How Long Does the Discomfort Last?

Although this can vary from person to person, the discomfort of a retainer should only last a few days to a couple of weeks as you get used to it—as long as you’re taking care of it.

Cleaning your retainers is critical, as that means there’s no build up of food particles which could cause inflammation and cause the discomfort to extend beyond that short period of adjustment. Use a reputable cleansing solution like Ola Fresh to give yourself the best chance of adjusting quickly.

How to Get Used to Retainers: 5 Tricks

A young woman is putting on her Hawley retainer.

Here are five tricks for how to get used to a retainer.

1. Start Slowly and Gradually

When you initially start wearing your retainer, ease yourself into it. Remove your retainer for periods of time to give your mouth a break and work up to wearing it for a longer time.

2. Stay Consistent

As you work up to a schedule, make sure you stay consistent. Follow your orthondontist’s recommendations for how long you should be wearing it to ensure you give yourself time to adjust. If you never wear the retainer for long periods, you’ll never have the chance to get used to it.

3. Speak Up if There’s Pain

If the discomfort is extreme or it’s causing you pain, speak to your orthodontist. They may be able to make minor adjustments to lessen the pressure, ensuring you’re still getting effective orthodontic treatment while making life easier on you.

4. Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene

Brush your teeth twice a day and make sure you’re brushing your retainer too. Just using warm water isn’t enough—buy an effective and safe cleansing solution to make sure you’re getting rid of any bacteria, as trapped food particles in your teeth could cause inflammation.

5. Never Leave Your Retainer Lying Around

It should always be in the retainer case if it’s not in your mouth. Leaving it out in the open can also cause it to get dirty, which is bacteria you don’t want brought back into your mouth.

Maintain Your Retainer with Ola Fresh

The best thing you can do to give yourself the best possible chance of adjusting to your new retainer is to maintain it with a cleansing solution like Ola Fresh.

The Ola Fresh Dental Appliance Cleanser has a pleasant mint essence and cleans all types of removable dental appliances like retainers, ensuring it’s clean every time you put it in your mouth, and it comes in a 3-, 6-, or 12-month supply.