How to Take Care of Your Retainers

by | Dec 8, 2015

When the braces come off, the retainers help keep your teeth straight. As an essential part of your orthodontic care,

gif courtesy of giphy.com

gif courtesy of giphy.com

it’s important to take care of your retainers. If it becomes damaged or broken, you’ll have to order a new one from your Southington orthodontist, and that can be a hefty price to pay for a moment of carelessness. Use these tips to keep your retainer looking as good as new.

Retainer Fit

Your retainer is still working hard to correct the placement of your teeth, which means that it should feel a bit snug in your mouth. Initially, it may feel awkward and cause you to slur your words when you speak, but you’ll eventually get used to the sensation. Note how it feels when you leave the office, though. You want it to always feel that way.

As time goes on, the teeth may shift or the retainer could start to loosen in places. This is normal, but it should be adjusted. Our team is experienced in getting the right fit for orthodontic retainers in Southington. If you suspect that something is wrong, schedule an appointment to have someone look at it and make necessary adjustments.

Eating with a Retainer

Though you should try to keep your retainer in as often as possible, it’s important to remove it while eating. Crunchy foods might break parts of it, while sticky foods could bend the wires. Food is also more likely to get stuck in all the little nooks if you’re eating with the retainer in your mouth. Before you eat, take the retainer out and put it in a safe place.

Of course, this could cause an awkward social situation. Most people don’t want to look at someone taking out his/her retainer while they’re eating. If you’re planning to eat in a group, you may want to excuse yourself before the food arrives. Take your retainer out and place it in its container, then stick it in a purse or backpack. One mistake that a lot of people make is to try to discreetly wrap their retainer in a napkin while eating rather than placing it in the proper storage container. The person then mistakes it for garbage and throws it away, along with the other things on the tray. Restaurants and cafeterias are the places where most people lose their retainers.

Sports and Your Retainer

If you play sports, you should take the retainer out during practices and games. During these times, there’s a higher chance that the retainer could break. It’s also more likely for the wires of the retainer to hurt the inside of your mouth.

Talk to your orthodontist if you plan to be playing sports several hours each week. We may need to adjust the recommendations based on your personal situation.

Cleaning Your Retainer

Even though you take the retainer out while eating, you still want to keep it clean. Whenever you brush your teeth, take the retainer out and brush it as well. This freshens it up and removes any food particle that may have found their way to the retainer. Some types of retainers are not meant to be brushed with toothpaste, though, so always double-check with your orthodontist about the types of products you should use for cleaning.

Besides Straight Teeth, What are the Benefits of Braces?

About once a week, you’ll want to disinfect it. To do this, you might use a special retainer cleaner that our office will provide you or a denture cleaner that you can buy in the pharmacy, like Efferdent. Even diluted mouthwash could do the trick. Allow the retainer to soak in the cleaner for a few minutes, then remove and rinse off. It will be sparkling clean and smelling fresh.



Storing Your Retainer

When you received your retainer from us, we will also give you a special storage case. Retainers are fragile and replacing them is a time-consuming and expensive process. This storage case protects the retainer from potential damage.

Every time you need to take out your retainer, it should go straight into this storage case. At first, this may seem inconvenient and you may want to simply set it next to you on the table. However, this is not a good habit to start. Forgetting it even once might mean that it’s lost or damaged forever.

Keeping It Out of the Heat

Though the retainer is made of sturdy plastic and metal, it isn’t built to withstand a lot of heat. The storage case does not protect the retainer from high temperatures. In particular, you want to keep the retainer out of a hot car, away from hot water, and out of direct sunlight. If you keep the retainer in your mouth most of the time, this isn’t usually a big problem, but everyone makes the occasional mistake.

Things to Avoid

Photo credit: adwriter / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: adwriter / Foter / CC BY-NC

Having something like a retainer in your mouth is a new experience, and many people find they have a hard time not touching and wiggling it with their tongue, especially in those first few days. Absentmindedly clicking the retainer in

and out is common. However, you should avoid this at all costs. Doing this tends to wear down the wires that hold the retainer in place. It might loosen them and cause the retainer to need premature adjustments. Once the retainer is in your mouth, leave it there.

It’s also not a good idea to chew gum when you have a retainer in your mouth. It can stick to the wires and cause them to bend. Though some gums claim that they are fine for use with orthodontics, you should still avoid them. A breath mint or mouth wash is an alternative method of freshening up your mouth.

Getting your retainer is the final step in developing your beautiful smile, but it’s a big responsibility. That small little thing is an expensive piece of orthodontic equipment. Fortunately, when you properly take care of your retainers, you’ll find that they will last for the years to come.

Team Demas Orthodontics

27 Meriden Ave #2a, Southington, CT 06489, USA

Phone: 860-276-0333

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