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4 Tips to Keep Your Retainer Clean and in Good Working Order

Retainers are a critically important part of orthodontic treatment. Even after the main part of your treatment is over and your braces are off, your teeth still need some extra support to maintain their new positions.

Like braces, retainers require a little extra care. But once you learn the basics, your care routine will become second nature, keeping your retainers in good shape so they can do their job without problems.

In this post, Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, and our team at Freedom Orthodontics in Cedar Park, Texas, want our patients to feel confident and successful in every phase of their treatment. In this post, Dr. Smith offers four simple tips to help you maintain your retainer and enjoy all its benefits.

1. Use your retainer case

Your retainer is strong enough to do its job of keeping your teeth in their proper positions once your braces are off, but it’s not indestructible. Whenever you remove your retainer, be sure to place it in its case for safekeeping. 

Avoid putting your retainer in a napkin during meals to prevent accidentally throwing it away. Don’t pop it in your purse, backpack, or pocket either. And don’t leave it out in the open where a pet may find it.

2. Brush your retainer twice a day

Like your teeth, your retainer needs to be brushed regularly to remove plaque and keep your mouth and breath fresh. That means brushing both the plastic part and the wires that hold your teeth in place. 

Brush your retainer when you brush and floss your teeth, and rinse it with mouthwash for added freshness. Use a soft-bristled brush to avoid scratching the plastic, and don’t apply too much pressure when brushing. Avoid harsh toothpastes that can scratch the plastic.

3. Avoid high heat

When brushing or rinsing your retainer, use cool or room-temperature water. Using hot water might seem like the best choice for killing bacteria that can cling to your retainer, but hot water can soften the plastics used in your device, causing it to warp or bend.

It’s also important to keep your retainer out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources, like a radiator. Even if your retainer is in its case, direct heat increases the likelihood of warping, which means you’ll need to come to our office to have your retainer repaired or replaced so it continues to work the way it’s supposed to.

4. Take your retainer out for sports

While it’s important to keep your retainer in for as long as directed, it’s also important to know when to remove it. That includes removing your retainer during most sports and physical activities.

Instead, ask Dr. Smith about mouthguards designed to prevent trauma and protect your beautiful smile. Don’t wear your retainer when swimming, either, since chemicals in pool water can harm your retainer, and the risk of losing it also increases.

Caring for a retainer isn’t difficult, but if you damage your retainer or it doesn’t fit the way it used to, we can help. To learn more about retainer use or orthodontic treatment in general, call Freedom Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.

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