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Caring for Your Retainer | Orthodontics, Wichita, Kansas

Orthodontics Wichita
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You’ve already spent countless hours in the orthodontist’s office and undergone the initial pain associated with brace tightening. Not to mention constantly changing your elastics (rubber bands). The hard part is finally over! Now, it’s time to retain all of the hard work you put into making your smile perfect. At Cambridge Family Dentistry, we have team members experienced in orthodontics in Wichita, Kansas, that have provided some simple tips when it comes to caring for your retainer. Check them out below!

  • Clean Your Retainer and Case

    Cleaning your retainer and the accompanying case is an essential step to caring for your retainer and is every bit as important as brushing your teeth each day! To ensure your retainer is clean and to help keep yourself healthy, rinse your appliance with warm water and dish soap once a day, and consider brushing it out after each meal. If you fall victim to retainer laziness, your retainer will continue to collect bacteria, plaque, and tartar from your mouth, resulting in malodor and poor taste. Most importantly, retainers may store dangerous bacteria that can lead to illness, such as Streptococcus and Candida. Depending on the type of retainer you have, a Hawley, clear plastic, or fixed or bonded, the cleaning process may vary. For Hawley and clear plastic retainers that can be removed from the mouth for daily cleaning, it is important to implement the following process:

    1. Clean your retainer immediately after removing it from your mouth while it is still wet. This will allow you to clean off any debris easily before it hardens.
    2. Use lukewarm water to brush out your retainer following each meal.
    3. Mix lukewarm water with dish soap for a deeper clean. You may also use a soft toothbrush or denture brush to clean off plaque and other debris.
    4. Use a cotton swab to get into the crevices and grooves of clear plastic retainers.
  • Avoid Heat

    One of the most obvious facts about your retainer is that it will only work if it fits properly! To ensure that your retainer perfectly fits your mouth, avoid leaving your retainer in hot areas, such as the backseat of a car or a sunny windowsill. This can ultimately lead to warping or melting and affect your retainer’s ability to maintain your teeth properly. Also, avoid drinking warm beverages while wearing your retainer, and make sure not to clean it with boiling water!

  • Replace Your Retainer When Necessary

    Just like clothing and other accessories, retainers are also subject to daily wear and tear and eventually may need to be replaced. Most Hawley retainers last anywhere from five to 10 years, while plastic retainers may only last up to a few years. If you feel that your retainer is worn out or no longer fits your mouth correctly, contact your dentist experienced in orthodontics in Wichita to discuss your options.

  • Regularly Brush Your Teeth

    While brushing your teeth daily is essential for all individuals, it is especially vital for those who regularly wear retainers. Brush your teeth before and after wearing your retainer to avoid increased bacteria and plaque accumulation. If you put your retainer on top of dirty teeth, it is more likely to deteriorate quicker and lead to bad personal hygiene.

  • Eliminate Harsh Chemicals

    When cleaning your retainer, there is no need to use harsh chemicals or cleansers to achieve a deep clean. Dish soap and water should be an acceptable solution to cleaning your retainer—you may even choose to avoid using toothpaste to scrub your retainer as many toothpastes are rather abrasive and may lead to additional surface scratching. Never use bleach or alcohol-based mouthwash as these harsh chemicals will ultimately damage the plastic of the retainer, as well as your mouth health.

  • Soak It Up!

    For an added cleansing effect, try soaking your retainer. Oftentimes these cleaners come in tablet form and may be mixed with water. Only soak the retainer for the recommended cleaning time, and avoiding soaking your retainer for too long as it may lead to metal corrosion!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in all articles published on the Cambridge Family Dentistry website do not necessarily reflect the views of our staff members at Cambridge Family Dentistry.

Explore Your Orthodontic Options

Are you looking for an orthodontist in Wichita? Members of our Cambridge Family Dentistry team have expertise in orthodontics, which is focused on correcting irregularities of the teeth and jaw, especially how they align and fit together. Contact us at (316) 687-2110 to schedule an appointment!

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