You’ve gotten your braces off. Congratulations! But your orthodontic care doesn’t stop there. Now that your teeth are straight, you need a retainer to make sure they stay that way. Retainers come with their own maintenance and care to make sure your teeth stay the way you want them to. Luckily, Bennett Orthodontics has some tips for keeping your retainer clean, safe, and in shape.

Clean Your Retainer Regularly

Just as 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, as 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 or back in its protective case. 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

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 also helps to 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

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 or risk the plastic being warped or melted. If you take it off, place it somewhere where 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.

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Wear Your Retainer Appropriately

While your retainer is in your mouth, make sure it’s worn and secured properly to avoid damage. Retainers should be worn 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

If your teeth are dirty before you put your retainer on, your retainer will be dirty in turn. 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 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 easy to find so you don’t lose it. Keep a storage box to put them in that 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 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 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 well-worn retainer can deteriorate after a while, even if it’s well-made. To keep your teeth straight, 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. We’ll replace it for you.

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Bennett Orthodontics gives you the best

No matter where you are in your orthodontic journey, you deserve the best care before, during, and after your treatment. And that includes a welcoming office with a team that knows what you want. Bennett Orthodontics is here to help you get and keep the smile you deserve. Dr. Bennett will create a personalized treatment plan just for you and provide unmatched care for all your appointments. Since orthodontics is his primary and only specialty, Dr. Bennett and his expert team have the skills and experience necessary to give you the best treatment that is cost-efficient and effective.

If you still have questions about getting and taking care of a retainer, our eager and well-trained orthodontic team would love to chat with you for your FREE consultation to get you started on your treatment journey. There is no pressure or obligation to enter a treatment plan. Only useful individualized information to help you decide what is right for you.