Taking Care of Your Retainer

It is common for your orthodontist to prescribe a retainer after braces. Retainers are a part of the orthopedic treatment that helps keep teeth aligned after or in the placement of braces. It is far too often that people choose to neglect the use and care of their retainer resulting in teeth shifting out of place. Here are a few tips to help with the maintenance of your retainer.

Keeping Track of Your Retainer

Lost dental retainers are the number one reason for retainer replacement. There are a lot of situations in which you will be putting in and removing your retainer during everyday activities. It is important to always keep track of where you keep your equipment to ensure it doesn’t become lost or damaged. Here are a few key tips for keeping track of your retainer as it’s used throughout the day:

  • Your orthodontist should give you specific instructions regarding when you should and shouldn’t wear your retainer. Unless instructed otherwise, always wear your retainer before going to bed at night. Shifting can happen throughout the night, so it is always important that you have your dental retainer in place.
  • Always be sure to remove your retainers at the start of every meal. To ensure you keep track of your retainer, put it immediately into its case. Retainers are most often lost in school lunchrooms and restaurants.
  • Pets love to chew on retainers. When it’s not in your mouth, ALWAYS keep your retainers in a retainer case.
  • If you are planning a day at the pool or beach, always remember to remove your dental retainer before swimming.

Retainer Maintenance

Lack of maintenance is the second most common reason that retainers need replacement. A lack of cleaning and care of your equipment will cause damage and eventually lead to the necessity of a replacement retainer. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your device is properly maintained throughout its use:

  • To thoroughly clean your retainer of plaque and odors, use warm water, toothpaste, and a toothbrush to gently scrub all sides. Do this once a day to ensure that there is no build up of unwanted plaque.
  • While Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners may be helpful, they do not take the place of brushing. Always be sure to follow your daily scrubbing routine.
  • Treat your retainers with care: they’re easily breakable. Call us immediately if you lose or break your retainer.
  • Keep retainers away from the heat! Heat can damage your retainer so be sure to avoid things like hot water, hot car dashboards, the washing machine, and dryer.

With these tips, you can easily make your retainer last for years to come. If your retainer needs to be adjusted, never try adjusting them yourself, call for an appointment as soon as possible. If you have any questions call or schedule appointment today!