It may seem like tedious work to take care of retainers. However, there are 10 easy steps to ensure your retainer is taken care of!
1. Be aware of food
Many retainers can be removed before eating. However, some retainers are fixed by being bonded to the teeth. This makes it important to watch what foods are eaten as they can cause damage.
- Hard or crunchy foods
- Sticky foods like candy or caramel
- Sweets and soda to prevent tooth decay
- Reduced consumption of high-acidity foods or drinks.
2. Wear the retainer appropriately
Retainers need to be worn twenty-four hours a day. There are exceptions to not having to wear them.
- During cleaning
- When eating
- Participation in contact sports
- Orthodontist specifications
This is a security measure to not only ensure the retainer is able to do its job but also to keep the retainer from becoming damaged or lost.
3. Clean daily and properly
Retainers need to be cleaned daily like teeth. This contributes to cleanliness and fresh breath. A small amount of toothpaste can be used for cleaning. Specialty care can be applied with Retainer Brite, denture cleanser, or soaking it in mouthwash and water mixture. Rinsing after every meal can help fight odor and plaque build-up. Flossing may also require floss threaders if the retainer cannot be removed during this process.
4. Use the protective Case
Retainers need to be stored properly when it is not in use. Leaving it in tissues or napkins promotes the risk of the retainer accidentally being thrown away. The protective case is also meant to keep the retainer from being randomly placed around the house and lost.
5. Keep the retainer moisturized
Retainers do easily dry out if they are not kept moisturized. They already receive enough moisture when worn because the mouth is naturally wet. Retainers should be moisturized when placed in a retainer to keep them from drying out and becoming damaged.
- Soak in cool water
- Soak in mouth mixed with water
- Specialty care liquids
6. Stay on top of follow-Up Visits
Follow-up visits are very important to make sure they are properly cared for and checked to see if they still fit or need adjustments. The retainer should be brought to every appointment to make sure nothing is missed.
7. Keep pets from gaining access the retainer
Pets play a part in how to take care of retainers as they have been known to eat and chew them up. So store the retainers out of reach of them.
8. Keep the retainer away from heat
Heat does melt or warp plastic material so it is important to ensure not to leave the retainer in areas that can cause too much heat exposure.
- Direct sunlight
- Near the stove or by a heater
- Boiling or hot water
9. Follow instructions from the orthodontist
The orthodontist knows what is best! Orthodontists know how a retainer should be used and cared for, despite if the retainer is fixed or not. They can guide you in special cleaning instructions foods that are acceptable or not acceptable to eat. Let them know if any issues are experienced.
10. Do not get discouraged
Some effects experienced when beginning to wear retainers are extra saliva, slurred speech, getting used to the snug fit. Although these effects may be slightly embarrassing or uncomfortable, they do fade and normalize. Getting discouraged could lead to improper care, not wearing the retainer, or misplacing it.
Following these ten easy instructions will help you in taking care of your retainer!