In a lot of cases, you may have a retainer as part of your orthodontic treatment. Sometimes, patients just need a retainer to correct an orthodontic issue, and in other cases, patients wear one after having metal braces. In all cases, here are some essential tips to help you take care of your retainer.
Remove the Retainer Before Eating
Ideally, you should remove your retainer before eating, and you should never chew gum while wearing it. Taking out your retainer is especially important if you are eating sticky or gooey foods. Regardless of what you’re eating, if you don’t take out your retainer, food and debris can get caught in it, and it can be hard to remove.
After you’re done eating, try to brush your teeth before putting the retainer back on. That helps to prevent food from getting lodged between the retainer and your teeth. If brushing isn’t possible, at least rinse out your mouth.
Use a Storage Container
Unfortunately, when people take out their retainers to eat, they often lose or inadvertently throw them away. To avoid that, don’t place your retainer in a napkin on your plate. Instead, carry a special case with you, and place the retainer in that when it’s not in your mouth. To be on the safe side, you may want to slip the retainer in your bag or pocket.
Remember Airflow for Long Term Storage
If you only wear your retainer at night, you have to keep it in a storage container all day. Ideally, in this situation, you need a storage container with some airflow. Without air, your retainer may get moldy or mildew. Ask your orthodontist where to find this type of container.
Clean Your Retainer
Just as you clean your teeth, you also need to clean your retainer on a regular basis. If you don’t, plaque can build up and spread to the rest of your mouth. Gently brush the retainer using toothpaste and a soft bristle toothbrush. Then, thoroughly rinse it with water. You may want to place a towel in the sink so you don’t drop it and potentially crack it.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
When cleaning your retainer, make sure not to use any harsh chemicals. For instance, never try to bleach it or use denture cleaner. Only use the same toothpaste that you would put in your mouth. On top of that, don’t’ try to sterilize your retainer with boiling water. The heat can warp the plastic or bend the metal.
Contact Your Orthodontist with Issues
If you’re having trouble with your retainer, make sure to contact your dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible. They can help if it is not fitting correctly or if it is causing pain in your mouth. Additionally, if your retainer has gotten bent or cracked, your orthodontist can repair it or order a replacement as needed.
To get more tips about taking care of your retainer, contact FUNtastic Dental today. We offer orthodontic treatment for patients of all ages, and we have everything from traditional metal braces to Invisalign.