How to Properly Care for Your Retainers

February 10, 2021

Your retainers will help you keep your newly aligned teeth intact. Your teeth may be in their correct placement right after braces are removed, but teeth often shift over time. That’s why it’s so important to wear your retainers as often as prescribed, which is often recommended daily. Because you should be wearing your retainers quite often, retainers will need to be cleaned as part of your daily oral hygiene routine.

Types of Retainers

Each patient has different needs, so cleaning procedures will depend on how often you wear your retainer, and which type of retainer you have.

Hawley Retainers

These are your standard retainer, with an acrylic mold attached to a wire that wraps around the teeth. These are removable and typically easy to clean.

Clear Aligners

Clear retainers or aligners are plastic, and practically invisible when placed on the teeth. They are easy to remove, but a bit more fragile than Hawley retainers.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers are bonded to the teeth and cannot be removed. They usually sit in the mouth for months to years.

Retainer Cleaning Process

Cleaning Your Removable Retainers

No matter what type of retainer, you should clean your dental appliances daily. Hawley and clear retainers should be removed and cleaned every day. Here are some tips on how to care for your removable retainers.

  1. Always clean your retainers after removing them, such as after every meal. Brush the retainer with room-temperature water as soon as possible, which will prevent debris from hardening. It’s a good idea to brush your teeth as well.
  2. Avoid brushing your retainer with toothpaste as it can actually damage the retainer surface.
  3. Pay special attention to deeper grooves, using a cotton swab if your toothbrush cannot reach far enough.
  4. Avoid excess heat, which can damage your retainer.
  5. Remember to keep your case clean, as well as the retainers themselves.
  6. Make regular appointments with your dentist, who can help you remove any stubborn debris stuck on the retainers. Appointments are also necessary to monitor teeth movement.

Cleaning Your Permanent Retainers

Unlike removable retainers, fixed retainers will remain in place until professionally removed by your orthodontist. However, maintaining daily cleaning habits is just as important. Thoroughly flossing is the most important aspect of maintenance for permanent retainers. Talk to your dentist about flossing techniques that will ensure a clean mouth.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

If you are interested in braces, or any other type of treatment, Utah Orthodontic Care offers both affordable payment plans and the highest quality treatment in the Saratoga Springs area. Schedule a free consultation today.