After months or even years wearing braces, you’ll probably feel relieved. However, you’re not completely clear of responsibility yet! You’ll still need to follow your orthodontist’s instructions on how to care for your new dental retainer.
According to this survey, patients wearing a removable dental retainer were given oral (63%), written (32.1%), or oral/written (4.9%) instructions.
These instructions included using hygiene tools such as:
- A toothbrush
- Dental floss
- Interdental brushes
- Oral irrigators
Ignoring your orthodontist’s instructions for cleaning and caring for your dental retainer could impact your results. As a result, you might need to pay for costly replacement retainers.
Want to ensure you’re properly taking care of your new dental retainer? Keep reading to learn how to clean your dental retainer for the best results!
1. Clean It Properly
The global orthodontic retainer market is expected to reach $388 million by 2024. These retainers will help guide your teeth into place, even after you stop wearing braces. As more people begin wearing a dental retainer, it’s essential they know how to clean it properly.
Neglecting to clean your retainer can cause it to develop a foul odor or discoloration. Properly caring for your retainer, on the other hand, can help you achieve the best results. At the same time, you can avoid paying for costly replacements.
Taking care of your retainers will only take a few minutes each day.
It’s important that you develop a habit of cleaning your dental retainer. In fact, you should clean your retainer each time you brush your teeth.
You’ll need toothpaste, a toothbrush/retainer brush, and a retainer cleaner. Here are a few tips to cleaning your dental retainer properly.
First, rinse your dental retainer under lukewarm water. Make sure it isn’t too hot or too cold. Then, apply toothpaste to a soft-bristled toothbrush.
You can also use a retainer brush if you have one.
Gently brush the entire retainer inside and out. Use small, circular motions as you brush the entire dental retainer.
Once you’ve brushed it inside and out, rinse the retainer under lukewarm water again.
Then, visually inspect the retainer. Look for any tartar or calcium build up. This build-up will appear as a cloudy, white film on your retainer.
Calcium and tartar build-up occurs on your teeth as well as on your retainer. You might notice it’s difficult to remove using a toothbrush.
If you notice any calcium build-up, you’ll need to use a retainer cleaning solution. We’ve reviewed the steps for using a dental retainer cleaning solution below.
Once you’ve finished cleaning your retainer, place it back in a case to dry or back in your mouth.
Don’t go too long without wearing your retainer. Otherwise, you could cause a delay in your treatment.
Make sure to follow these steps for how to care for your new dental retainer every day. You can complete this process each time you brush your teeth. That way, you’re less likely to forget about cleaning your retainer.
Cleaning your dental retainer every day is only one part of the process. For example, you should also remember to remove your retainer each time you eat. Otherwise, plaque and food particles can stick to the inside of the retainer or in your teeth.
With time, plaque and food particles can cause bacteria to build, which could lead to tooth decay.
Forgetting to clean your detainer could also cause it to smell.
In order to clean your retainer properly, make sure you don’t use a cleaning solution with harsh ingredients. Consider checking with your orthodontist. They can provide a list of recommendations.
It’s also important not to soak your dental retainer in mouthwash.
Most retainers are transparent. Since mouthwashes contain color, your retainer could absorb the color dye, leaving you with a discolored retainer.
Many retainers are also created using plastic, or resin. As a result, you should refrain from rinsing them in hot or warm water. Otherwise, the water could distort the retainer’s shape.
This can change how the retainer fits in your mouth.
2. Protect It From Damage
Your retainer will likely come in a protective case. Make sure to use the case when your retainer isn’t in your mouth. This can help you protect your investment.
Otherwise, leaving your retainer out in the open could cause it to collect dust and germs.
You don’t want to put those in your mouth! Instead, use your case to shield your dental retainer from germs, children, and pets. Your kids or pets might think of your retainer as a toy, so you want to protect it from grabby hands as well.
Otherwise, your retainer could end up broken.
Remember, it’s important to remove your retainer during meals. Make sure to place your retainer in your case instead of in a napkin. Otherwise, you might accidentally forget your retainer and throw it away!
3. Soak It
When learning how to care for your new dental retainer, it’s also important to soak it regularly. A disinfecting oral appliance soak cleanser can help disinfect your dental retainer from:
- E Coli
Soaking your retainer can also help prevent infections such as pneumonia, stomatitis, cheilitis, and oral thrush. At the same time, a cleanser will help eliminate tough stains, odor, plaque, and debris. As a result, you can keep your dental cleanser completely clean.
Choosing the right soaker is important. Make sure to avoid cleansers that contain peroxide, alcohol, chlorine, or bleach.
To use a soak cleanser, squirm about 8mL of the cleanser into 150mL of water.
Let your dental retainer soak for five to 20 minutes a day. Afterward, make sure to rinse your detainer under running water.
Don’t forget to check the water temperature! You want to make sure the water isn’t too hot to avoid distorting your retainer.
Clean & Cared For: How to Take Care of Your Dental Retainer
Learning how to take care of your dental retainer is important. With this guide, you can keep your retainer clean and safe. Otherwise, you might need to pay for a costly replacement.
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