Did you know that even after having your teeth aligned with braces, they won’t stay in position on their own? A material called cementum can pull them back to their original positions if you aren’t careful. 

That’s why your family orthodontist at Heroes Dental will make a retainer that will keep your teeth in their new, beautiful position. 

Your retainer will be with you for a while, so you need to take care of it properly. Following the upcoming retainer tips can help make sure you won’t need braces again. 

How Should I Clean My Dental Retainer?

Keeping your retainer clean is very important for your dental health. If your teeth or retainer are dirty, bacteria can spread in your mouth. 

You should talk to your family dentist about caring for your specific retainer, but there are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Brush your retainer when you brush your teeth. You should also clean the retainer before and after you put it in your mouth.
  • Don’t use anything abrasive on your retainer. Cool water will work for minor cleaning before you wear it again or you can use a special retainer cleaner for a deeper clean. You can also use one part of sodium hypochlorite bleach to ten parts of water to clean it.
  • Make sure you clean behind and under the wire if you have a fixed retainer
  • You shouldn’t eat with a removable retainer in. Take it out and put it in the container while you eat, then make sure you get food particles out of your teeth before you put them back in.

Can Retainers Get Moldy?

If you don’t clean your retainer, it can get moldy. Mold, bacteria, and tartar can all build up if you aren’t cleaning the retainer consistently. Even if you brush your teeth, putting in a dirty retainer can damage them and possibly make you sick. 

This is one of the most important retainer tips you can follow!

Do Retainers Break Easily?

Retainers tend to be made of a variety of materials like plastic, metal, acrylic, or wire, depending on the type of retainer. These materials can break, warp, or scratch if you aren’t careful with your retainer. 

If your retainer breaks and you don’t replace it quickly, you may end up needing more cosmetic dentistry to recorrect crooked teeth. Additional tips for protecting your retainer include:

  • Don’t use anything abrasive that can scratch your retainer.
  • Keep it away from small children or pets.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach on your retainer.
  • Be careful when putting a retainer in and taking it out. Align it before you bite down so you don’t risk breaking it. Don’t flip it out with your tongue either, loosen it in a few places before removing it.
  • Avoid anything sticky or hard that can break the wire of a fixed retainer. 
  • Don’t leave it out for long periods as it can dry out and become brittle. This is more likely to happen with certain materials, so ask your orthodontist how to reduce the chance of breaking it. 

Wear Your Retainer as Directed

After you get your braces off, you’ll probably want to enjoy that freedom. You may be tempted to skip wearing it, but that will result in your teeth returning to their original positions. 

Orthodontics requires maintenance to keep your teeth where you want them. You need to wear your retainer for as long as your orthodontist says – which may be for most of the day or only a few times a week. If you tend to forget to wear your retainer, create reminders like an alarm on your phone.

Even with the best care, all retainers eventually wear out and start fitting poorly. This is when it’s time to go back to your family dentist for a new one. Heroes Dental can help make sure your teeth stay perfectly aligned over the long term. 

If you need a new retainer, contact us today!

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