For people who get braces to fix tooth misalignments and other issues, the braces themselves are just one stage of treatment. Next comes retention, which involves maintaining the results you achieved with your braces even once they’re no longer in your mouth.
At St. John’s Orthodontics, we have several retainer options for you or your child. One of the most important considerations once you receive a retainer? Properly caring for and maintaining it. Here are a few basic tips for caring for a retainer.
Off Before Eating
First off, unless instructed otherwise, you need to remove the retainer before every meal. This is to prevent it from trapping negative items like food and plaque, which can infect the teeth and lead to exactly the sort of issues you’re trying to prevent in the first place. Carry your retainer case with you, and simply pop the retainer inside it before meals. Never, ever wrap your retainer up in nothing but a napkin or a tissue – it might get accidentally thrown in the trash or misplaced, or worse yet, confused with someone else’s.
Clean First, Then Store
You need to rinse and brush your retainer on a regular basis to help remove tartar buildup on the surface, and following the right steps here is important. Use a regular toothbrush and toothpaste, or simply soak the retainer in a glass of water with some baking soda. If you only wear your retainer sparingly (say, ever other night), you can store it in a container with strong airflow to help prevent mold and bacteria.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
In nearly all cases, toothpaste and water should be easily enough to clean the retainer. You can add baking soda, mild vinegar or denture tablets to water while the retainer soaks in it. There should never really be any need for bleach or alcohol-based products, which can damage both the plastic and your mouth. Additionally, never boil your retainer – it can melt the plastic.
Remove When Brushing
Never brush your teeth while wearing your retainer. This will cause you to miss large areas of the mouth, and the toothbrush might displace the retainer accidentally. Brush and floss after removing the retainer, and then brush the retainer separately.
To learn more about our affordable braces or retainers, or any of our orthodontist services, speak to the service pros at St. John’s Orthodontics today.