Now that your orthodontist has removed your braces, youve probably received your first set of retainers. While braces serve to gradually push and move your teeth into their ideal positions, retainers hold them in place, preventing your teeth from shifting.
To achieve best results, some patients may be required to wear retainers for 24 hours a day, seven days a week; others may need to wear them only at night. Regardless of the schedule of application, keeping your retainers clean and in top condition is crucial to your comfort. This way, your retainers will be longer-lasting and more effective at achieving their purpose.
Take a look at these simple tips on how to take care of your retainers.
Clean Them Daily
Your mouth is a hotbed of germs, plaque and food debris. Naturally, these undesirable elements will transfer to the retainer material and cause damage. If not cleaned often, your retainers will smell badly; the bacteria will also speed up deterioration.
Clean them every day. You can use your toothbrush and gently scrub the surfaces with toothpaste. If youre not wearing them, soak your retainers in antiseptic mouthwash or cleaning agent for dentures.
Keep Them in a Cool, Safe Place
Retainers, especially the plastic-made variety, are prone to melting or warping when placed in direct sunlight or in sweltering environments. Also, when placed in a place thats too dry or humid, cracks will gradually appear in the material.
Keep your retainers out of reach of children or pets. It is also advisable to store them in their containers or in a soaking solution. Avoid wrapping them in a napkin or tissue where they can be mistakenly thrown away. Also, placing them in your pants pocket may warp the retainers.
Avoid Biting or Playing With Them Using Your Tongue
Your retainers probably wont withstand biting and tongue-flipping. Eventually they will wear out and the material will give out. If you want them to last long and do the job theyre supposed to, just use and wear them as instructed by your orthodontist.
If youre new to wearing orthodontic appliances, you may feel some interference or discomfort. Your retainers may feel foreign to you now, but eventually they will become a natural part of your life.