Wearing a retainer can help you keep your teeth straight, but remembering to put it in every day can be difficult. No matter how old you are, getting into the routine of putting in your retainer at night can be tricky.
Whether you’re helping a child or teenager with his or her retainer or dealing with your own, taking care of your retainer is critical. You may know all about braces, but wearing a retainer is a different story. While the process is relatively simple, it is something you need to understand.
Use this guide to learn more about how to care for your retainer and make sure it’s working properly for you.
Protect Your Retainer
Your dentist or orthodontist probably told you all about braces. As you learned, you can’t do much with your braces on your own. Your retainer, in contrast, requires a fair amount of maintenance and care from the wearer.
The first and most important thing to do to care for your retainer is to treat it gently. That means storing it in its case when not in use in a place where nobody will sit or step on it or knock it onto the floor. Ideally, you should store your retainer somewhere near your toothbrush since that’s where you’ll likely put it in before bed.
When traveling with your retainer, make sure you don’t put it in your checked luggage. Keep your retainer with you or in a hard case that isn’t easy to damage. Otherwise, you may arrive at your destination with a damaged retainer, which means you’ll need to have a new one made for you.
Check for Signs of Wear
Properly taken care of, your retainer should last a long time. However, for some people, wearing a retainer into their early 20s isn’t uncommon. Your dentist will likely want you to wear it until your jaw stops growing and the positions of your teeth have stabilized.
To make sure you’re getting all of the benefits of your retainer, take the time to inspect it visually once in a while to make sure no damage has occurred. Even minor cracks and bent spots can make your retainer less helpful.
Your dentist may have told you all about braces and inspecting them, and the same advice applies to your retainer. Also note if your retainer feels different in your mouth over time so you can let your dentist or orthodontist know.
Clean Your Retainer Regularly
Naturally, your retainer is going to get a little dirty from time to time and need a cleaning. After all, the bacteria in your mouth will collect on your retainer just like on a toothbrush. Unlike a toothbrush, replacing your retainer isn’t something you can do at the drug store for less than $5.
To clean your retainer, one of the best things you can do is to cover it in baking soda in a small container. That will help absorb odors and begin to get rid of germs and bacteria you want to eliminate.
You can also clean your retainer with a mixture of water and baking soda and a toothbrush. Gently use a homemade paste prepared from a few tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of water to scrub the retainer.
Let the retainer dry before putting it back into its case for storage. You should also clean your retainer case from time to time.
Interested in learning more about how you can care for your retainer after braces? Then contact us today!