Even after you finish your treatment with braces or Invisalign, there is still some work to be done. To keep your teeth in their new, correct positions, you’ll need to wear a retainer. In the same way that it’s important to properly care for your braces or Invisalign during treatment, you’ll need to properly care for your retainer as well.
Why Are Retainers Important?
To understand the importance of caring for your retainer, it helps to understand why retainers are necessary. When you get your braces or Invisalign aligners removed, your teeth are vulnerable to regression, which is the process of teeth moving back to their crooked positions. Retainers keep your teeth straight so you can continue to enjoy your new smile and better oral health.
There are a few different types of retainers you might get, and each of these will require a slightly different kind of cleaning method.
Cleaning Your Retainer
Some retainers are removable, which allows for more thorough cleaning. Hawley retainers, which are made out of a combination of metal wires and plastic, and clear retainers, which are similar to Invisalign aligners, should be removed for meals. You should also remove them regularly to clean them with a soft-bristled toothbrush, lukewarm water, and dish soap. You should avoid using toothpaste on retainers since they can be abrasive. You can also use a cotton swab to get any bigger particles loose. Don’t forget to clean your case regularly as well since it is also prone to bacterial buildup.
The amount of time required to keep your retainer in will vary between patients. This amount of time will also likely be reduced over time. When your retainer isn’t in your mouth, it’s a good idea to soak it to prevent bacteria or calcium buildup. Be sure to steer clear of mouthwash for soaking since this can be corrosive to retainers. Instead, use a specialty retainer soaking solution.
If you have a fixed retainer, you should maintain a similar cleaning regimen to your cleaning routine for braces. Be sure to brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste after every meal and to floss at least once per day. Using a floss threader will help make flossing much easier.
Other Retainer Care Tips
If you have a removable retainer, you’ll need to take care not to damage or lose it. Keep your retainer in its case in a safe spot while not in use. If you have to keep your retainer in during the day, bring your case with you if you go out to eat to keep it safe. Be wary of hot cars if you go out, since heat can warp the shape of removable retainers. And if anything does happen to your retainer, contact your orthodontist right away to get it replaced.
To learn more about caring for your braces and aftercare, contact Crescent Orthodontic Specialists today!