Now that you are finally done with your orthodontic braces, it’s time to keep your teeth in tip-top shape with your orthodontic retainer! As you use your retainer, it is very important to properly care for the appliance, and we recommend doing so by doing the following these guidelines:
• Clean your retainer regularly: In order to keep your retainer in great condition, it is vital to clean your retainer regularly. Cleaning your retainer on a daily or weekly basis will successfully remove the plaque and bacteria that will build up on your retainer while it is in your mouth. To clean the appliance, soak it in denture cleaner or non-alcoholic mouthwash. During this process, use clean, plain, and warm water. Please do not use hot water; it can warp and melt the retainer.
• Keep your retainer in a safe place: Because your retainer is removable, it can easily be misplaced. To refrain from losing your appliance, keep your retainer in a safe, secure, and memorable place. Also, try and keep your retainer out of your pocket and off your lunch tray. It is easy to lose and break the appliance if it is in these two places.
• Protect your retainer: Hot temperatures and dry atmospheres are very damaging to the retainer. If you have the appliance in a hot environment, like dishwashers, washing machines, and direct sunlight, it can melt and reshape the appliance. If you have it in a dry environment, the retainer can crack and break. To protect the retainer, keep it from these environments and soak it in water, denture cleaner, or mouthwash often.
• Carefully remove and insert your appliance: When you take the retainer out of your mouth or put it back in, make sure to do so in a gentle and proper way. Many people like to flip the retainer with their tongue, which can ruin and easily break the appliance. Also, make sure you are removing the retainer without bending or breaking the wires.
• Don’t wrap your appliance in tissue: Many people tend to wrap their appliance in a napkin or tissue when they take it out to brush their teeth or eat. Please do not do this. If you do, the fibers of the tissues stick to the appliance and it makes it difficult to clean. It is also easy to accidentally throw the retainer away if it is covered by the napkin.
To learn more ways of properly caring for your retainer, call our office today and talk to a member of our orthodontic team. Our orthodontist is thrilled to help you care for your orthodontic appliances!