Your braces have effectively realigned your teeth through the course of several adjustment sessions. Once your braces are removed there will still be some residual tension in the periodontal ligaments anchoring your teeth in place. If your new retainer is damaged or you don’t wear it during the prescribed times, it will likely increase the amount of time you need to use it.
You should keep it in the case provided, when you’re not wearing it. It’s a good habit to simply keep the case with you, in a backpack, purse, or pocket, rather than improvise with a napkin or plastic bag. When you need to refresh your retainer, you should soak it in a mixture of one-half antiseptic mouthwash and one-half cold water.
You should brush your retainer with a soft bristled toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste each day. If you have a clear plastic retainer, it could be dulled by brushing with an abrasive toothpaste. Try soaking it in a mixture of equal parts water and antiseptic mouthwash to remove plaque and kill bacteria.
If you have a fixed retainer, that is cemented place behind your teeth you might want try using interdental brushes or a floss threader to clean the area around the wire. If food particles and plaque are allowed to build up in these areas it could lead to tooth decay or a failure of the cement anchoring the fixed retainer.
If you have questions about how to clean and maintain your new retainer, or your retainer is damaged in some way, please call us at 703.494.4101 for advice or to schedule an appointment.