You go to put your retainer in today and notice that it just isn’t fitting correctly. Maybe it even looks misshapen or distorted in appearance. Unfortunately, your retainer is not indestructible and exposure to excessive heat can actually cause your retainer to melt, or at least soften. This softening can change the shape of the retainer, thus affecting the fit. Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of melting your retainer and keeping it in the best shape possible.
Hot Water Can Melt Your Retainer
NEVER use hot water when rinsing or cleaning your retainer. While hot water is often used to sterilize objects, the excessive heat from hot or boiling water is enough to soften, distort, and damage your retainer. Always use lukewarm water when cleaning your retainer. This goes for the water you use with soaking products, such as Fresh Guard by Efferdent.
If hot water or excessive heat has left your retainer deformed and no longer fitting, visit SportingSmiles to order your high-quality, low-cost retainer replacement.
Excessive Heat or Direct Sunlight Can Melt Your Retainer
While soaking in hot water seems to make sense when it comes to melting a retainer, it doesn’t require direct contact with a heat source to cause damage. Exposure to excessive heat or direct sunlight can also damage your retainer, even when you think you are protecting it. For example, you took out your retainer when you went out for lunch with friends and left it in the case in the car. Unfortunately, that car gets really hot inside, especially during the warm summer months. This heat is enough to soften and melt the retainer. The same can happen when you leave your retainer on your bedside table underneath the window. That direct sunlight can heat the material and melt it.
You know you aren’t supposed to use hot water when cleaning your retainer, but what happens when you take that first sip of hot coffee in the morning? If your retainer is in your mouth, that hot coffee will come in contact with your retainer and may melt the material. Before drinking hot beverages, remove your retainer and replace it when you are done.
Never Use the Dishwasher to Clean Your Retainer
Unfortunately, the internet can be filled with false information. I can’t tell you how many times I have found sites that recommend running your retainer or mouthguard through the dishwasher to clean and sterilize it. While this may seem like an effective method of sterilizing your retainer, the temperatures inside your dishwasher are too hot and can cause your mouthguard to melt. You are better off cleaning it in lukewarm water as directed by your orthodontist.
What Do I Do When My Retainer Melts?
Once your retainer melts, it is, unfortunately, time to get a new one. You can’t get it warm again and hope to reshape it. Because while you may only see a change in shape, chances are the melting process damaged the integrity of the material, making it prone to small cracks and bacterial growth. It’s important to note that with proper care, most retainers will last for 2 years before you need a replacement.
If you have melted your retainer and need a replacement, SportingSmiles is here to help. Replacement retainers through your orthodontist can be expensive. They have to make a mold and send it out to a dental lab. With SportingSmiles, you make a mold of your teeth using our patented self-impression kit. After complete, you send it to our fully functional dental lab. We make your custom-fit retainer and send it back, at a fraction of the cost. For more information, visit Orthodontic Retainers today.