Your braces treatment is over, but your orthodontic care journey isn’t. Now that you have your retainer, it’s important to develop the right habits to keep it in shape. Regardless of what kind of retainer you use, it’s important to maintain it just as you would with your braces. Luckily, our team at Christian Manley Orthodontics has a couple of tips to help you keep your well-earned smile.
Clean Your Retainer Regularly
Just as you keep your teeth clean, make sure what’s keeping them straight is clean too. After each use, scrub your retainer with a toothbrush and distilled water. Avoid brushing the retainer with toothpaste. Toothpaste can be abrasive and cause scratches that make it harder to keep your retainer clean. After it’s scrubbed, rise it out before putting it back in your mouth. If you have a protective case, be sure to keep that clean as well so no dust or dirt touches your retainer. Don’t put your retainer in the dishwasher, as this can result in damage. It’s best to wash it by hand in your bathroom sink.
Soak Your Retainer And Keep It Moisturized
If you want to keep your retainer extra clean, try soaking it for five to ten minutes. You can buy retainer cleaner in tablet form and soak your retainer in a small tray. If you accidentally spill something on your retainer, drop it on the ground, or if it’s particularly messy at the end of the day, a good soak can help you wash away any excess saliva. It also helps to keep your retainer moisturized to keep it from drying out, which can leave it more prone to damage. Retainers receive plenty of moisture while you’re wearing them because your mouth is naturally wet. However, it’s important for you to rinse them and keep them wet even when they’re out of your mouth.
Be Careful When Taking Your Retainer On And Off
It’s important to avoid damaging your retainer when you take it on and off. When removing it, do not twist it with your tongue or pull it to one side. Check for any gaps between your teeth and the plastic. If your retainer has metal wires, avoid pulling them or picking at them so they don’t weaken or snap. Don’t expose your retainer to heat such as direct sunlight or boiling water for a long period of time. This can increase the risk of the plastic being warped or melted. If you take it off, place it somewhere it’s less likely to get lost or dirty. Keep it in the storage box so it stays safe from anything that could damage it.
Wear Your Retainer Appropriately
Make sure your retainer is secured properly to avoid damage. Retainers should be worn twenty-two to twenty-four hours a day. However, there are exceptions where it’s appropriate to remove them. These can include when cleaning them, eating or drinking, chewing gum, playing contact sports, or any time our orthodontists specify. Try not to bite down too hard or grind your teeth while wearing your retainer, which could damage or erode the plastic. Always make sure it’s secure with no space between your teeth and the support.
Brush Your Teeth Before And After Wearing Your Retainer
Your teeth can leave saliva and other grime in your retainer, so it’s important to keep them clean. Grime can build up if it’s left inside your retainer right by your teeth. If your teeth are clean when you put the retainer on, they’re more likely to stay that way. And when you take them off, brushing your teeth again can eliminate an access plaque you’ve accumulated in your retainer throughout the day. It also helps to rinse your retainer before putting it back in your mouth.
Keep Your Retainer In One Spot
Always keep your retainer somewhere you won’t lose it. Keep a storage box to put them in that you can keep in a bathroom drawer or carry with you about your day. If you don’t have a case, use a bag, pocket, or other secure device that it won’t fall out of. Keep out of reach of small children or pets who may tamper with it. If you’re at a restaurant and take it off to eat, don’t wrap it up in a napkin, or someone like a waiter may throw it away. If you do lose it, make sure to replace it. If it’s not on your face, keep it in a case!
Replace Your Retainer When Needed
A retainer can deteriorate after a while, even if it’s well-made. To keep your teeth in pristine shape, it’s good to get a replacement when your current one starts to wear down. If you see holes or scratches in the interior or exterior of your retainer, it may be time to get a new one. Make sure to have regular follow-up visits with our orthodontists. If you’re unsure if it’s time to get a new retainer, ask one of our doctors. If your retainer breaks, erodes, or gets lost, contact one of our orthodontists and we’ll replace it for you.
Trust Your Smile to Christian Manley Orthodontics
When it comes to expert orthodontic treatment, you want a warm and professional environment. And in the Issaquah and Sammamish, Washington area, you can’t do better than our team at Christian Manley Orthodontics. Dr. Manley will create a personalized treatment plan for you and provide exceptional care from the moment you walk into our office. Since orthodontics is his primary and only specialty, Dr. Manley and the rest of our expert team have the experience necessary to give you the best in treatment, costs, and efficiency as you work to align your jaw and smile!
You’ve earned your new smile, and we want to help you keep it so you can leave our office with confidence. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation here at Christian Manley Orthodontics. There is no pressure or obligation to enter a treatment plan but great individualized information to help you decide what is right for your smile.