At Heroes Dental, our job isn’t only to help you reach your orthodontic goals but to also help you maintain a beautiful and healthy lifelong smile.
While braces help correct imperfections in your smile, it’s the retainer that keeps your teeth straight after your braces have been taken off. Your retainer plays a vital role in your treatment and so it is important that you follow the guidelines set by your orthodontist when it comes to using it.
Equally important as using your retainer as directed is taking care of them. Whether it’s your child, your teen, or yourself using a retainer, it is important to follow a few guidelines in order to keep them safe and get the most out of their use.
Our orthodontists here at Heroes Dental are happy to offer you 9 amazing tips for protecting your retainer.
- Keep your retainer safe in a retainer case. Retainers are fairly soft and can be easily damaged (or thrown away) when left out of a case. A brightly colored case can serve as a great visual reminder to take it along with you, especially as you are rushing around during the summer months.
- Keep your retainer clean. Your retainer can build up bacteria, mold, tartar, and germs – and then you put it in your mouth. Avoid these potential hazards by regularly cleaning your retainer with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste or soaking it in a glass of cool water with baking soda. This will help prevent any bacteria from spreading throughout your mouth as well as stop odors.
- Take your retainer out before a meal. You’ll want to remove your retainer before you eat and place it in its container. This will help you avoid getting food or plaque trapped in your teeth. But just be careful and avoid placing it on your plate or in a napkin where it can accidentally get thrown away.
- Keep your retainer away from the heat. Your retainer is created to fit your mouth perfectly and help you in the last leg of your orthodontic treatment. But excessive heat can easily cause it to melt or warp. You’ll want to keep your retainer away from heat sources like windowsills, dishwashers, hot cars, and even hot drinks. And while you might think disinfecting your retainer in boiling water is a great strategy, the heat is only going to destroy it.
- Avoid using any chemicals to clean your retainer. There’s no need for you to use any alcohol-based mouthwashes to keep your retainer clean. Water and toothpaste will do the trick. Or if you really want a clean retainer, you can soak it in mild vinegar. Anything more can potentially ruin the retainer.
- You may need a new retainer eventually. Like anything else, a retainer can wear out and feel odd in your mouth. This may be a sign that you need to replace your retainer. This does not mean, however, that you should try to make any alterations yourself – leave that to the professionals at Heroes Dental. If you feel some discomfort, visit your orthodontist and allow them to make the proper corrections.
- Brush your teeth before using your retainer. Using a retainer with dirty teeth is only going to make the retainer dirty and potentially spread bacteria in your mouth. It is also worth noting that you should never brush your teeth with your retainer on as you really won’t clean your teeth properly. First, brush your teeth, and then brush your retainer since are you already in the motion.
- Be gentle when putting it on and taking it off. Your retainer can be relatively fragile and you’ll want to be gentle with it as your put it on or remove it. Many people have a habit of flipping the retainer off with their tongue but this is an easy way to break it. Avoid using too much force when taking it off.
- Just take care of it! This is easier said than done – especially for teens and children. Retainers can break easily because they are made of plastic and wires, so it is essential that they are taken care of in a safe and caring manner. They should always be kept in a case when not in use and should be out of reach of toddlers and pets.
Straight teeth are more than just a boost to your confidence; they’re important to your overall health. Our orthodontists at Heroes Dental want to make sure that you feel comfortable and well-informed at every step of your orthodontic treatment.
If you have any questions about your braces and orthodontic treatment, contact us today at any of our offices located in Laredo, Mission, San Juan, McAllen, Pharr, and Edinburg. Whether you are looking for traditional braces, clear braces, or Invisalign, we will help you develop the perfect orthodontic treatment plan for you.