How To Take Care of Your Retainer

Your braces are off, which means it’s time for the next step in your orthodontic journey. Much like braces, retainers require the right habits to keep your teeth safe and clean. No matter what type of retainer you use, it’s important to keep it in shape to protect your new smile. Shiney Smiles Orthodontics has a list of tips to help you keep and maintain your retainer.

Clean Your Retainer Regularly

Just as you keep your teeth regularly clean, make sure what’s keeping them straight is clean too. Scrub your retainer with a toothbrush and distilled water after each use. Avoid brushing the retainer with toothpaste, as toothpaste can be abrasive and cause scratches that make it more prone to damage and harder to keep 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.

Keep Your Retainer In One Spot

Always keep your retainer somewhere easy to find so you don’t lose it. Keep a storage box to put them in. This way you can keep it safely in a bathroom drawer or carry it with you on the go. If you don’t have a case, use a bag, pocket, or another secure compartment that it won’t fall out of. Keep out of reach of pets or small children who may break or 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. 

Wear Your Retainer Appropriately

While your retainer is in your mouth, make sure it’s secured properly to avoid damage. Retainers should be worn 22 to 24 hours a day, however, there are exceptions where it’s appropriate to remove them. This 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. Make sure it’s secure with no space between your teeth and the support.

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Brush Your Teeth Before And After Wearing Your Retainer

If your teeth are dirty before you put your retainer on, your retainer will be dirty in turn. Grime like saliva can build up if it’s left inside your retainer right against 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 can eliminate any 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.

Soak Your Retainer And Keep It Moisturized 

To keep your retainer extra clean, try soaking it for five to ten minutes. You can buy retainer cleaner in tablet form. 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 grim. It’s also important to keep your retainer moisturized often 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. But it’s important to rinse them and keep them wet even when they’re out of your mouth.

Be Careful When Taking Your Retainer On And Off

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 retainer. If your retainer has metal wires, avoid pulling 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 too long. This can risk 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 a protective case so it stays safe from anything that could damage it.

Replace Your Retainer When Needed

Even a well-made retainer can deteriorate after a while, especially if it’s well-worn. To keep your teeth in pristine shape, it’s important 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 stay ahead on 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. We’ll replace it for you.  

Shiney Smiles Orthodontics know you deserve the best

Your smile is a big part of how people perceive you, and more importantly, how you perceive yourself. Whether you’re just getting braces, getting them off, or looking to keep your smile in shape, you want the right team on your side. That’s why you need to trust your orthodontic health to an expert like Dr. Sheinis. As an experienced and skilled orthodontist, he’s passionate about providing high-quality care to patients of all ages in Huntington, Woodbury, and the surrounding communities. 

We’re here to offer custom care from our state-of-the-art office, using cutting-edge technology to give patients a rewarding experience and exceptional results! If you’re looking for the best in orthodontic care in the area, you’ll find it right here with us. Shiney Smiles Orthodontics is ready to help you achieve the ideal smile you’ve always wanted. Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation, and we’ll help you get started!