If you have a retainer, it is very important to keep it in tip-top shape by doing the following things:
1. Clean your retainer regularly: When your retainer is in your mouth, it is vulnerable to the same bacteria and plaque that destroy and attack your teeth, which is why it’s so important to clean your appliance at least once a week. You can clean the retainer by soaking it in denture cleaner or non-alcoholic mouthwash as well as scrubbing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
2. Protect your appliance: Hot and dry environments are harmful to your retainer. Hot environments, like inside dishwashers and washing machines, can melt and warp the appliance. Dry environments, like outside in the sun or on your bathroom counter, can crack and break your retainer. To keep the appliance in great condition, put it into a cup of water, denture cleaner, or non-alcoholic mouthwash often.
3. Properly remove and place your retainer: Please carefully and properly remove and insert your retainer from and into your mouth. Many people flip their retainer out of their mouth with their tongue, which is an easy way to break the appliance and bend the wires.
4. Keep your appliance safe: Because the retainer is small and removable, it is easy to misplace. To keep track of your appliance, make sure to put it into a safe, secure, and memorable place. Also, please keep it out of your pocket and off of your lunch tray. If you put your retainer in these places, you are likely to break or lose it.
5. Know where to put your retainer: While you eat or brush your teeth, do not put your retainer on tissues or napkins. If you do, the fibers in the material will stick to your appliance, which will make it difficult to clean. It is also easy to accidentally throw your appliance away if it is covered and wrapped in napkins.
For more advice on how to properly care for and clean your retainer, we encourage you to give our office a call. We look forward to helping you learn more about orthodontic appliances!