Now that your braces are off, it’s time to move on to the next step in your orthodontic journey. Retainers require the right habits to keep them clean and safe. Regardless of what type of braces you wear, it’s good to know how to keep them in shape so you can keep your well-earned smile. Lucky for you, Collins Orthodontics has some tips for caring for your retainer.

Clean Your Retainer Regularly

You keep your teeth regularly clean, make sure what’s keeping them aligned is clean too. Scrub your retainer with a toothbrush and distilled water after each use. Avoid brushing the retainer with toothpaste. This is because toothpaste can be abrasive and cause scratches that can lead to damage and make it harder to keep your retainer clean. After it’s scrubbed, rise it out before putting it back in your mouth or back in its protective case. Speaking of your 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.

Wear Your Retainer Appropriately

While you’re wearing your retainer, make sure it’s worn and 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 your 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.

Soak Your Retainer And Keep It Moisturized

If you want 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 wash away any excess grim. You should also keep your retainer moisturized in general 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

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 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 a long time. This could 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.

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 when you put it on. Grim 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 any access plaque you’ve accumulated in your retainer throughout the day. It also helps to rinse both your teeth and retainer before putting it back in your mouth.

Keep Your Retainer In One Spot

Always keep your retainer somewhere easy to find so you don’t lose it. Keep a protective case to put them, which you can keep in a bathroom drawer or carry with you on the go. If you don’t have a case, use a bag or other secure device that it won’t fall out of. Keep out of reach of pets or small children 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 or yourself may throw it away. If you do lose it, make sure to replace it.

Replace Your Retainer When Needed

A retainer can deteriorate after a while, even if it’s well-made, and especially if it’s well-worn. To keep your teeth aligned, 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 a sign to get a new one. Make sure to stay on top of 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.

Your smile is safe at Ollins Orthodontics

Ollins Orthodontics wants to help you on your road to the perfect smile. Our eager and well-trained doctors will create a custom treatment plan and provide exceptional care from your first appointment to last. Orthodontics is our primary specialty, our caring team has the skills and experience to give you the best in treatment at the best costs, and with the best efficiency as you work to align your jaw and smile!

Whether you’re getting braces, getting them off, or keeping your smile the way you want it, we want to be there for you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation here at Ollins Orthodontics. There is no pressure or obligation to enter a treatment plan but great individualized information to help you decide what is best for your smile.