When you have finished with your orthodontic treatment in braces or Invisalign, the work isn’t quite over. Your orthodontist will give you a retainer to wear to keep your teeth in their new, corrected positions. Your retainer is vital to maintain the proper alignment of your teeth and your long-term oral health, so it’s important that you take the necessary steps to take good care of it. One of the important steps is carefully storing it.
Storing Your Retainer
Most retainers are removable pieces you wear primarily at night time, allowing you to go about the rest of your day without any extra appliances in your mouth. The convenience of having a removable retainer makes keeping up oral hygiene far less of a chore than when you had braces. What you want to make sure you don’t slack on, however, is properly storing your retainer.
Your orthodontist will supply you with a plastic case that you can use to store your retainer while it is not in use. Find a convenient place to keep your case where you can easily find it and it won’t get lost. Be sure the place you choose to store your retainer is away from heat since hot temperatures can warp the structure of the retainer, leading to an improper fit. You’ll also want to be careful of hot cars or sunny poolside’s if you take your retainer with you on trips.
Take Your Retainer Case With You
Sometimes, patients are required to wear their retainer more than eight hours per day for a period of time, typically in the weeks immediately following getting your braces removed. If this ends up being true for you, you’ll want to bring your case along with you when you go somewhere during the day, especially if you need to eat while you are out.
One thing to remember if you do go out to eat is to store your retainer in your case rather than a napkin. The case is typically brightly colored and stands out while the napkin may get mixed in with other things on the table, causing a server, or you, to unwittingly toss it in the trash. Be sure to brush your teeth and clean your retainer before putting it back in.
Keeping Your Retainer Clean
When it comes to storing your retainer when it’s not in use, don’t forget to thoroughly clean it off with a soft-bristled toothbrush and clear, liquid hand soap. This will get rid of food particles and bacteria, helping to prevent plaque buildup over time. Having a case with good airflow, rather than being totally sealed, will also help prevent bacteria and plaque from growing.
Another good idea to prevent plaque buildup and to keep your retainers clean is to soak them occasionally at home. You’ll want to make sure you avoid harsh chemicals when you do this. Liquids like bleach, cleaning alcohol, or mouthwash can cause damage to the plastic if they sit in the chemicals for an extended period of time. Instead, use water mixed with denture tablets or baking soda. These will help keep bacteria at bay while you store your retainers without causing any damage.
Contact Charleston Orthodontic Specialists to learn more about taking care of your retainer!