When you have a retainer after orthodontic treatment, it’s important to make sure you take care of it properly. Do you know the best ways to take care of your retainer? Dr. Scott McElroy, a provider of orthodontics in San Roman, CA, offers some tips.
Don’t Expose it to Heat
Almost any kind of removable retainer has some sort of plastic element. If you try to clean your retainer by boiling it or putting it in the dishwasher, it’s likely that it’s going to warp or melt — at least the plastic part. This can be a problem when you’re storing your retainer as well. If you’re keeping it in your car, it can warp if it’s in the car, particularly in direct sunlight.
Avoid Using Chemicals
Making sure your retainer is clean doesn’t have to mean using harsh chemicals. Usually, simple brushing and washing with soap and water is sufficient. However, chemical cleaning tablets are effective in getting rid of certain bacteria, like those that cause strep throat. In most cases, though, soap and water are all you need.
Clean Your Case Too
Your retainer isn’t the only thing that needs to be cleaned. The case needs to be cleaned just as often with soap and water. It’s crucial that your retainer is in a sanitary place when it isn’t in your mouth. You don’t want to let the case end up being a breeding ground for bacteria and other nasty things that can make you sick.
Soak it Sometimes
Different retainers may have different soaking materials that are safe for them. Talk to Dr. McElroy and see what he recommends for the one you have. There are chemical tablets, soap and water, and mouthwash soaks that are common. They’re used to help remove bacteria and make sure the smell stays fresh in between uses.
Keep it Out of Reach
Particularly if you have small children or pets in your household, you want to make sure it’s in a place that isn’t easily accessible for others. A retainer is a valuable orthodontic appliance and you don’t want it to get accidentally broken or misplaced. Retainers can also be dangerous for a pet like a dog that may attempt to chew or swallow it.
Recognize When it Needs to be Replaced
Removable retainers aren’t a permanent replacement. Over time they wear down and need to be replaced. Depending on how hard you are on it or how often you wear it, they may break as well. Call our office if this happens to you. We can get you set up with a new retainer as soon as possible!
Orthodontics in San Ramon, California
Having a problem with your retainer? Call us or schedule an appointment online to get assistance.