How to Take Care of Your Retainers [Orthodontic Guide]

Taking Care of your Retainers

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Your dental care will not end when you finally remove your braces. Retainers are essential for the stabilization of your new teeth arrangement. Braces force teeth to move back into the mouth, and this involves the absorption of bones in the back of the oral cavity. To keep your great appearance, you will have to use retainers for a period that is stipulated by your doctor. In many cases, patients have to use these products for the rest of their lives. Depending on some factors, the period can even be as short as three months. Retainers are worn only part of the time, usually three to five times a week for those using them in their entire lifetimes.

These products are usually designed to serve you for between 3 to 10 years. Taking care of dental retainers will make them last for that entire period without causing dental conditions on you. Taking care of dental retainers can be done by:

• Always Carrying Your Retainer Case with You

Many times, people lose their retainers because of poor storage. Since most are removable, people can take them off and wrap them up in a napkin or other material. In such cases, they can easily be confused for trash and disposed of by other people in the room. If you use tissues, the material will get into the retainer, and this will make it very difficult to clean.

You are also highly likely to forget where you placed them. Retainer cases are easy to notice and can never be thrown out with the trash. Replacing these items can be a financial setback, so this might be a wise consideration.

• Taking Them off When Having a Meal

To take care of retainers, you will have to remove them when eating. They can easily collect dirt between your teeth when you eat. Plaque can be hard to flush out with water since the pockets are hard to reach. This will not just affect the retainer, but also your dental health. Cleaning your retainer will also become unnecessarily hard if it has plaque and food remains on it.

• Removing Your Retainer When Brushing Teeth

Brushing your teeth with your retainer on can make you miss some sections of your mouth. That will mean more plaque and tartar is left on your teeth, and this will affect your general dental health. Over time, your retainers will also be heavily covered in plaque and cleaning them can become very difficult. Brushing your teeth with your retainers on can also alter their position. In the wrong position, retainers will not serve their purpose.  To prevent such troubles, you should always take off retainers when brushing teeth.

• Cleaning Your Retainer Regularly

Retainers should always be cleaned before storage. Cleaning retainers involve brushing and rinsing, just like you do for your teeth. Occasionally, you can also soak them in a solution for a thorough cleaning.

This helps to get rid of tartar and plaque that are likely to have found a way into the device. Even if you always take your retainers off before meals, these elements can get into your dental gadgets when you have quick snacks. Since you don’t brush your teeth after every meal, plaque will also get to the retainer from your teeth. In such cases, cleaning will not be a very difficult job.

If you fail to clean your retainers properly, you will end up with a bad mouth odor since the same bacteria will affect your oral cavity.

Not all cleaning methods are safe for this equipment. For example, you should never clean them by dipping in boiling water. This will damage their plastic parts. The hot water will also warp the metallic parts of the retainer. Many retainers are made of plastic, and the entire thing will lose shape if subjected to such high temperatures.

All you need for cleaning purposes is toothpaste and clean water. It is important to consult your dentist before brushing your retainers. The best way to take care of retainers will depend on the specific one you are using. If your dental device can be brushed, you should make sure to use a soft brush to prevent damage. Chemicals such as bleach and alcohol-based mouthwash can easily damage your retainer. You can let the retainer soak in a solution of baking soda, denture tablets, and mild vinegar. A cleaning agent for dentures can also work perfectly for the soaking of retainers.

• Protecting It from Extreme Conditions

Retainers get damaged when exposed to extremely dry or hot conditions. This is the reason why they should never be soaked in hot water. Also, they should not be placed in direct sunlight as this will make them very dry. In such a state, retainers are likely to crack. You should never use electronic appliances to clean retainers as they would be exposed to extremely hot conditions. In the same vein, it should never be left close to a heat source.

When not in use for a long time, they can be soaked in water to prevent drying. Ideally, you should mix the water with appropriate cleaning agents so that the retainers can stay free of germs and bacteria while in storage.

• Being Gentle When Wearing or Removing Them

Always take your time when wearing retainers and adjust them slowly with your hands. Flipping with too much energy can make the retainers break. You should also never adjust them with your tongue since this will lead to early damage.  Always examine your retainers for any signs of damage or loss of shape. In such states, they will be unable to serve their functions and might need to be replaced.


Once you are done with your braces, it is important to start wearing retainers. These are important for the maintenance of the state of your teeth. Many people fail to take care of their retainers, and this costs a lot of money for replacements. On average, these items are meant to last for a period of about ten years.

It is important to always have your storage case with you since you are likely to remove the retainer once or twice through the day. You should always remember to clean them after use and before storage. To prevent damage, you should soak them in an appropriate solution. Ask your orthodontist for advice by booking an appointment on the best way to take care of retainers since they all have different cleaning guidelines.



11113 Leavells Rd. Fredericksburg, VA 22407

Phone: 540 898 2200

How to Take Care of Your Retainers 


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