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How to Clean Your Orthodontic Retainer

Learn how to clean your orthodontic retainer and keep it safe

Now that your teeth have been successfully adjusted into their ideal alignment, your braces can be removed. Unfortunately, your teeth will not stay in their new positions by themselves. Your orthodontic retainer can help you keep the straight, beautiful smile you’ve worked so hard for, but only if you take good care of it. This means you need to keep it safe and clean. Here are some tips to help you clean your orthodontic retainer and keep it from getting damaged.

Keeping Your Retainer Safe

There are two basic types of removable retainers. One is made completely of plastic and covers your teeth entirely, like an Invisalign aligner. The other is called a Hawley retainer and consists of a plastic piece that fits on the roof of your mouth and a wire that goes around your teeth to keep them in place.

Because both types are made at least partially of plastic, they can be affected by heat. To avoid damaging your retainer, don’t leave it in the car on a sunny summer day or drink hot beverages or eat hot soup while you are wearing it.

When you remove your retainer, always put it in a safe place, preferably a case designed specifically to store a retainer. This will make it easier to find when it’s time to put it back in and will hopefully keep it from getting lost or being thrown away accidentally. It’s also important to keep it out of reach of pets or toddlers who might decide it would be good to chew on.

How to Clean Your Orthodontic Retainer

Clean your retainer immediately after you remove it from your mouth to brush and floss your teeth. If you wait to clean it, the plaque and other substances can harden on the appliance, making it difficult to remove them. You can clean your retainer by soaking it in denture or retainer cleaner daily. This will help your retainer taste and smell better the next time you put it in your mouth.

As you go about your day, you can refresh your retainer by soaking it in a mixture that is half antiseptic mouthwash and half cold water. If you notice plaque or debris on your retainer, you need to remove them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny bit of toothpaste. You can also use a denture brush or vegetable brush if you would like.

If you have any questions or if you would like to know more about how to clean a retainer in Cincinnati, Ohio, please call Tretter Orthodontics at 513-697-9999. Our orthodontic team is here to help you in any way we can, and we look forward to hearing from you!