Do you know how to care for your retainer?
Following the completion of your orthodontic treatment plan, we will recommend the use of a retainer. Retainers are oral appliances that help you maintain the dream smile that you’ve worked so hard for. They hold your teeth in their desired position to prevent them from shifting. There is a big misconception that you do not have to wear a retainer for the rest of your life following receiving orthodontic care.
However, the moment that you stop wearing your retainer consistently, you put yourself at risk for orthodontic relapse which can cause you to undo all of the effort put into achieving your dream smile. At our San Ramon, CA orthodontist’s office, Dr. McElroy is happy to provide patients with all of the information they need on retainer care.
Tips for Retainer Care
Just as you keep your teeth and gums healthy by brushing and flossing, your retainer will need care as well. When you complete your orthodontic treatment plan, Dr. McElroy will go over everything you need to know about retainer care. Depending on what kind of retainer you get, care instructions may vary. Below are some of our best tips for maintaining your retainer:
- Avoid heat – Many patients make the mistake of attempting to boil their retainers or every throw them in the dishwasher. If your retainer is removable, it is likely made of some sort of plastic material that is easily warped when it comes in contact with heat. Because of this, we recommend avoiding putting your retainer anywhere that will expose it to extreme heat. You should be mindful of this when it comes to where you store your retainer as well. If you leave your retainer inside of a hot car, you may need to have your retainer examined for damages.
- Clean your case – If your retainer is removable, you will be provided a retainer case. You should clean your retainer case as often as you clean your retainer. Rinsing it with soap and water will help keep it clean. Because your retainer is often in your mouth, you’ll want to ensure that when it isn’t in your mouth, it is in a sanitary place.
- Let it soak – Talk to Dr. McElroy about soaking solutions for your retainer. Soaking your retainer can help remove bacteria and also freshen the smell of your retainer before you need to use it again.
- Replace as needed – Retainers will wear down over time. Occasionally, they may even break. When this happens, simply schedule an appointment with Dr. McElroy. He will work with you to provide you with another retainer.
What should you not do with a retainer?
While wearing a retainer patients should avoid biting into it. This is a common cause for cracks or breaks in the retainer. Patients should also avoid drinking soda, sports drinks such as Gatorade, diet drinks, fruit juice, and candies while wearing a retainer. If you need to bite on it to keep it in place, you need to visit us for an adjustment.
How long do clear retainers last?
Most retainers will last for about 2 years. Clear retainers are more prone to staining and may last less than 2 years. Taking good care of your retainers will extend their lifespan.
How do you take care of retainers?
While undergoing treatment with retainers patients should be careful to take good care of them. Patients can do this by cleaning their retainers on a regular basis. Wear your retainer as instructed by the orthodontist. Patients also should avoid eating or drinking extremely sugary drinks and food while wearing their retainer. While eating, patients should remove their retainer and have a case to store it in. This prevents you from losing your retainers when you take them out to eat, which is a very common issue.
Schedule An Orthodontics Appointment Today
Need a new retainer? Dr. McElroy is happy to provide retainers to patients who’s old retainers are lost or broken. Please schedule an orthodontic appointment, and we look forward to seeing you soon.