If you are just finishing your treatment with braces, you are graduating onto the use of a retainer, which is a strong, successful appliance that keeps your smile straight and beautiful. As you wear your retainer, it is important to properly care for it by following these steps:
• Clean your retainer regularly: It is very important to clean your retainer regularly because the bacteria and plaque that attack your teeth also transport to your retainer when it’s in your mouth. To properly clean your retainer, you can soak it in denture cleaner or non-alcoholic mouthwash. While you clean the appliance, please do not use hot water. It is best to use clean, plain, and warm water.
• Keep your appliance in a safe place: Retainers are often misplaced because they are a small, removable appliance. In order to keep track of your retainer, your orthodontist recommends putting the appliance in a safe, secure, and memorable place. Please do not put your retainer in your pocket or on your lunch tray; it can get lost or broken easily in these two places.
• Protect your retainer: To keep your retainer in the best condition, keep it away from hot or dry environments. Hot environments, like dishwashers, washing machines, or places in direct sunlight, can melt and warp the retainer. Dry environments, like your bathroom counter or outside in the sun, can crack and break the appliance. To keep your retainer from breaking and cracking, place it in water, denture cleaner, or mouthwash often.
• Carefully remove and place your appliance: Many people have the habit of flipping the retainer with their tongue, which is an easy way of breaking the appliance. When you remove and place the retainer, make sure to do it in the proper and accurate way. Also, please be careful and refrain from bending and breaking the wires.
• Don’t wrap your retainer in tissue: When you remove your retainer to brush your teeth or eat, please do not wrap your appliance in a tissue or napkin. If you do, the fibers from the material can stick to the retainer, which makes it extremely difficult to clean. It is also easy to forget about your retainer and accidentally throw it away when it is covered by napkins.
If you would like to learn more ways about caring and cleaning your retainer, call our office today and talk to your orthodontist. We are happy to help you have the best appliance possible for your smile!