Braces are a commitment of many months (sometimes years), and quite a bit of money. This investment in your smile is worth it when those braces finally come off and straight, beautiful teeth are revealed. The process doesn’t end when the braces come off, though. The period that follows braces removal is one of the most critical times for your bite and tooth alignment, and your retainer is what ultimately seals the deal. Shifting teeth is inevitable in the months and years following the removal of braces. How much of this shifting occurs depends largely on how regularly the patient wears their retainer. Your retainer is meant to last you for a long time, so it’s important to care for it properly.
Take it out when it’s time to eat.
Remove your retainer before you eat so it doesn’t trap food and plaque. Always carry your retainer case with you so you can pop it in there when it’s time to eat. Don’t wrap your retainer in a napkin or tissue — it might accidentally get tossed in the trash!
Remove when brushing
Never brush your teeth while wearing a retainer. Not only will you miss large areas of your mouth, increasing the risk of cavities, but the toothbrush may accidentally displace the retainer. Instead, remove the retainer to brush and floss your teeth, then brush the retainer separately.
Clean it regularly.
Rinse and brush your retainer regularly to remove tartar that can build up on the surface. You can use a regular toothbrush and toothpaste and gently brush your retainer, or soak it in a glass of water with some baking soda. If you only have to wear your retainer at night, store it in a container with sufficient airflow so it doesn’t breed bacteria.
Avoid harsh chemicals
Toothpaste and water should be sufficient enough to clean your retainer. When soaking your retainer, you can add baking soda, mild vinegar, or even denture tablets to the water. Never use bleach or alcohol-based mouthwash since these harsh products can damage the retainer. You also should avoid boiling your retainer — it can warp the retainer.
At Innovative Orthodontics, we offer a transparent retainer similar to Invisalign. They are removable, fit over the entire arch of your teeth, and have no wires. These retainers are inexpensive, easy to wear, and easy to clean. Ask us about our transparent retainers and remember: Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far!