There are a few instances that are very common here at the lab when we get broken retainers in. Retainers can usually get crushed if you put them in your back pocket, so it is always advisable to carry your retainer case. Also, when people do not have a retainer case and are about to have dinner or eat in a social setting, they might wrap their retainer in a napkin to keep it safe from the elements, but that napkin may end up at the dumpster and their retainer may not be found after that. It’s always advisable to keep a retainer case with you at all times and perhaps at multiple places. See, all of our retainers are shipped to our practices with retainer cases. Most practices will also provide you with their own retainer cases. At the very least, you have two retainer cases that you can put at strategic places so that you’re never without one.
Keeping Your Retainers Clean
Apart from storing your retainer in its proper case, you need to keep it clean as much as possible. You can take care of your removable dental equipment by following these retainer cleaning tips:
- Rinse: Do this after taking off the oral appliance. Do not hesitate to use your fingers to help get rid of any loose buildup.
- Soak: Immerse your dental equipment in a cleaning solution for about five minutes. Alternatively, you can apply a paste made from water and baking soda on the retainer. Let the mixture sit for the same amount of time.
- Scrub: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and warm water to scrub your retainer. Make sure that you reach the smallest crevices, as these areas serve as breeding grounds for bacteria. Rinse the dental appliance after scrubbing.
If you find debris on your oral appliance that won’t come off, take it to your orthodontist or dentist. These professionals have special solutions that eliminate stubborn residue.
Other Ways to Maintain Your Retainer
On top of cleaning your retainer regularly, you should take note of the following additional retainer maintenance suggestions:
- Keep Your Dental Appliance away from Heat – Heat melts plastic. If you have a retainer made of plastic or contains some plastic components, keep your oral appliance away from any heat sources.
- Wear Protective Mouthguard during Sports – When you’re going to play any sport, take off your retainer and wear a mouthguard as necessary. Contact sports could damage your retainer, so leave it on the sidelines and wear it after your activity is over.
- Take out Your Dental Equipment before Eating – While you need to wear your retainer every day, you also need to remove the oral appliance when you eat. Doing so makes it easy for you to enjoy munching on the food you want. On top of that, you minimize the amount of plaque and food that could become stuck in your retainer.
Proper Wearing of Retainers
The right use of this dental equipment will help you preserve its condition. If your dentist or orthodontist gives you a removable appliance, such as a Hawley retainer, follow these tips:
- Hold the oral appliance properly–Find out whether the retainer is for the bottom or top row of your teeth. Make sure to point the metal strip away from your mouth.
- Push the dental equipment onto your teeth gently – Do this after placing the retainer in your mouth. If you find that the oral appliance does not fit properly, do not force it to fit, as it may hurt your gums. Instead, get in touch with your orthodontist or dentist. Your retainers may require some form of adjustment.
- Anchor the dental appliance to your back teeth firmly – If necessary, use your hands to push the retainer into place. Refrain from biting your oral equipment into place, as you risk damaging it. When it fits into place, you should hear a click.
Remember these tips for retainers, and you’ll be able to preserve the condition of your appliance effectively. If you see small cracks in your retainers, bring it to the attention of your orthodontist as soon as possible.