Maintain That Retainer!

How do I clean my retainer? Congratulations!…

You are now in the retention phase of your orthodontic treatment. Whether you have completed full orthodontic treatment or your child is finished with phase I, the retention phase is just as important as the treatment itself. Your retainers have been given to you by your orthodontist to prevent movement of your teeth once braces are removed. It is your responsibility to wear the retainers as instructed and to take care of them, which includes keeping them clean.

The first step to keeping your retainers clean is removing all the plaque with a toothbrush with some liquid hand or dish soap on it. (You can use a separate toothbrush from the one you use in your mouth). Please do not use toothpaste to clean your retainers because it has abrasives in it that will scratch your retainers, which will cause them to harbor more plaque. Hold the retainer gently in your hand and brush all surfaces, inside and outside. Place your retainers in your retainer case and keep the case open during the day so that they dry and bacteria does not multiply.

It is also a good idea to soak your retainers periodically in a cup of water with either a retainer or denture cleaner tablet (Polident, Efferdent or any other brand). You may want to do this once every couple of weeks. Some patients tend to build up tartar on their teeth and you may see some of it form on the retainers as well. Make sure to remove all plaque off the retainers before it becomes tartar because tartar is very hard to remove from all the crevices of your retainers. If tartar does build up, you may have to bring your retainers to our office to get them professionally cleaned. It is important and much easier to prevent tartar build up than to remove it.

Your retainers will keep your teeth looking great, so please take good care of them! If you need a new set of retainers please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

– Dr. Michael Gorlovsky

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