How to Care for a Removable Retainer
Removable retainers are often used after fixed braces to help keep your teeth in place. If you don't wear a retainer, there's a risk that your teeth could move back into their old positions, ruining the beautiful, straight smile you and your orthodontist worked so hard to create.
It might feel like a hassle to have to worry about a retainer, but that's no reason to neglect using one. You'll quickly adjust to wearing and caring for your retainer, and the tips below will help. A retainer which is well looked after will last longer, feel more comfortable, and reduce your risk of oral health problems.
Read on to find out exactly how to care for your new retainer.
Purchase a retainer case
Your retainer will go everywhere with you, so it's really important to invest in a case. Tossing your retainer loose into your bag is extremely unhygienic, and you risk snapping or damaging parts. Retainer cases are made of a sturdy plastic and are shaped to fit your retainer perfectly. Keep a spare in each bag you use, and you'll never risk being caught without one when you need to remove your retainer. You should also always avoid storing the device wrapped in tissue paper, as it could be thrown away by accident.
Clean after eating
Your retainer contains plenty of gaps which are just perfect for food to get stuck into—gross! It's advisable to clean your retainer anytime you eat to prevent the buildup of plaque. How thorough you're able to be will depend on where you are. If you're in public, a quick rinse under the tap is fine until you're home. Once you're at home, you should thoroughly clean the retainer using warm, soapy water and a soft toothbrush. Avoid using harsh chemicals or metal brushes, as these can damage the resin your retainer is made from. Use cotton buds to get into any tricky nooks and crannies for a thorough clean.
Keep away from heat
Your retainer can be warped or damaged by high temperatures. Never use boiling water to clean it, and don't put it in the dishwasher or washing machine. Be wary of leaving your retainer in direct sunlight or inside a hot car. Where possible, it should always be stored in a cool, dry place. If you suspect heat has warped your retainer, don't attempt to keep using it, as this could damage your mouth. Instead, return to your orthodontist to have the retainer fixed or replaced.
Your retainer keeps your smile looking great, so be sure to take great care of it!