Caring for Your Retainer

Your braces are finally off, and you have straight teeth and a beautiful smile. If you want to keep those teeth straight, you have to wear your retainer. Retainers keep teeth from shifting back out of position after braces come off. Each individual case is different, and dentists determine how long each person should wear their retainer. Some people are advised to wear their retainer all the time, while some are told only to wear it at night while they sleep. There are some cases in which a retainer can be used as the treatment method for straightening teeth without braces. Whatever your reason for having a retainer, it is important to keep it in good condition so that it can work correctly.

Your retainer should have a case, and you should always place it in its case when you are not wearing it. You should take your retainer out of your mouth when you brush your teeth, and at this time you should also brush your retainer. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush for cleaning your retainer. If you have to, purchase a soft toothbrush just for the retainer. Use gentle toothpaste and brush the retainer gently, then rinse it off with water. You should disinfect your retainer daily by soaking it in a denture cleanser or a special cleanser for retainers. If you cannot do this every day, do it once a week at minimum. Always rinse and soak your retainer in warm water. Avoid water that is too hot and never put your retainer in boiling water because this can damage it.

It is important to care for your retainer because damage or plaque buildup can change your retainer’s shape and result in it not fitting your mouth correctly. If your retainer doesn’t fit, it cannot work correctly and in time it may become uncomfortable. Replacement retainers are expensive, and going without a retainer can result in your teeth shifting and undoing all the work that your braces did. Keeping your retainer in good condition is easy as long as you clean it daily and avoid the temptation to leave it out of its case, even for a few minutes. If you should lose your retainer’s case, be sure to get a new one.

If your retainer does get damaged, changes shape or if you feel that it no longer fits correctly, get to the dentist as soon as possible. Remember that wearing a retainer that does not fit right puts your straight teeth at risk.