How to Take Care of Your Retainer

Once your braces are removed and you get to see the amazing results of months, or possibly years, of hard work, you want to make sure you maintain your healthy new smile. That’s why it’s important to wear your retainer for the time your orthodontist prescribes. Of course, this also means taking good care of your retainer.

Keeping Removable Retainers Safe

There are several different types of retainers you might get from your orthodontist, and the length of time you need to wear your retainer depends on your specific needs. Sometimes, you may be required to wear your retainer for most of the day soon after you get your braces out. If your retainer is removable, you’ll want to be careful to take it out for meals to avoid damage. Be sure to store your retainer in a distinct case while you eat instead of on a napkin, especially if you are at a restaurant. This will ensure servers don’t accidentally toss it in the trash with your napkin.

If you only have to wear your retainer for part of the day, which is often done at night for convenience, your retainer will be stored much of the time. You’ll want to pick a safe spot away from kids or pets but that’s still easy for you to access so your retainer doesn’t get damaged and you still remember to wear it.

Keeping Your Retainer Clean

After meals, brush your teeth thoroughly with a soft-bristled toothbrush and do the same with your retainer separately. This will prevent food from getting trapped underneath your retainer and causing tooth decay.

When your retainer spends a large portion of the day in its case, you run the risk of bacteria growing on it, which can lead to plaque buildup. Needless to say, this can become very problematic for your teeth. One strategy to prevent plaque buildup is to store your retainer in a case that has small holes near the top for air circulation. It also helps to keep it on a shelf or counter rather than inside a closet or cabinet where there is no airflow.

Another problem that can come up with retainers is calcium buildup, which can interfere with the bite. You can keep your retainer soaked in a denture solution or in water with baking soda to prevent this buildup. Just be sure to avoid harsh chemicals, such as bleach or mouthwash, when you soak your retainer.

Any time you might need to bring your retainer along with you, such as for road trips or if you simply need to get more hours in during the day, be careful about subjecting your retainer to heat. It can be easy to forget about your retainer if you have it in a bag in your car. Summers can get pretty hot in Austin, and the heat can warp your retainer.

If you have any other questions about how to store your retainer, feel free to contact Austin Orthodontics.