Even when you get your braces off, your orthodontic treatment is not completely finished. Your retainer will keep your teeth straight for the rest of your life as long as you wear it consistently.
Caring for your retainer correctly is essential to your dental health. You should do your best to follow the following tips to make sure your retainer is taken care of and works just right to keep your teeth aligned.
1. Clean Your Retainer Regularly
If you want to keep your teeth clean, then you need to keep your retainer clean too. Germs and bacteria can grow on your retainer, so you want to make sure that it’s properly cleaned for your own dental hygiene.
You should clean it any time you brush and floss your own teeth, making it part of your dental care regimen. It’s usually best not to brush it with toothpaste because that can be abrasive and could scratch it.
It’s best to rinse or soak it with mouthwash or a special denture-cleaning tablets.
Your orthodontist and dentist can give you specific instructions on keeping your retainer clean depending on the type of appliance you get.
2. Wear It Forever
You orthodontist will tell you this, but you should always wear your retainer. It’s extremely important especially after getting your braces off because your teeth start moving immediately.
Normally, you will have to wear your retainer all day, every day for a year. It usually takes this long for your teeth to stabilize after braces, so you want to make sure they stay in the correct position with your retainer.
Some orthodontists install a permanent retainer while others recommend a classic removable one. Be sure to talk to your orthodontist about which one would be best for you.
3. Remove It Before Eating
Although you should be wearing your retainer all day, every day, you need to take it out any time you eat. This makes it easier for you to be able to eat any food you want and not damage your retainer.
This will also keep it cleaner as foods and plaque can get stuck in your retainer. These can cause bacteria to grow if not cleaned properly, so you want to be sure to brush your teeth before putting your retainer back in.
4. Use Its Protective Case
When you take your retainer out, you should always put it in the protective case that it came in from your orthodontist’s office. This keeps you from losing it or putting it somewhere unsanitary.
Some people wrap their retainer in a napkin or tissue when they are eating, but you should definitely avoid that. It’s far too easy to throw away your retainer just thinking it’s a wad of napkins.
5. Be Careful with It
Putting your retainer in may seem straightforward, but you need to be careful and cautious with it whenever you do. Make sure that it is in your mouth all the way and correctly positioned on your teeth. Having it installed incorrectly could cause some discomfort and could even damage your retainer.
Try not to push it with your tongue too much as that might loosen or even break it. It should fit snuggly but not uncomfortably on your teeth.
6. Keep It Away from Heat
Most retainers are made of plastic, or have some plastic elements in them, so you want to make sure to keep them away from any heat sources. Heat melts plastic, so be aware of where you place your retainer when it’s not in your mouth.
You might think that boiling it in water will be good to kill any germs on it, but that will also melt it. Just use a mouthwash rinse or brush it lightly with your toothbrush to clean.
7. Use Protective Mouthguard During Sports
When you play any sport, you should remove your retainer and wear a mouth guard if needed. Contact sports can be especially dangerous for your retainer, so put it in its protective case and leave it on the sidelines.
You retainer is incredibly important for the success of your orthodontic treatment, so take care of it and make sure it stays clean. If you have any questions about your retainer or how long you’ll need one for, call us today at (843) 4-BRACES.