Your beautiful smile is priceless. The journey began once you made the life-changing decision to straighten your teeth. Now that you’ve finished the treatment with your new Invisalign® clear aligners or another orthodontic treatment method, it’s time to keep your teeth in perfect alignment for years to come. Otherwise, your teeth may revert to its pre-alignment state. Maintenance is important and cleaning a retainer is a routine that you should establish early on.
Why Cleaning a Retainer is Important
Tooth decay, bad mouth odors, and retainer discoloration are just a few things that can happen when you neglect to clean your retainer. What’s more, bacteria can spread from your mouth to your retainer since it’s situated directly inside it.
A sticky plaque residue can also develop on your retainer. This thick substance is an accumulation of debris that stains the retainer. Keeping it that way degrades performance. It also becomes difficult to remove when you try to take it out quickly. Therefore, when cleaning your retainer, do so as often as you brush your teeth. Be proactive on a daily basis to keep your retainer fresh, bacteria-free, comfortable, and durable.
Easy Steps for How to Clean a Retainer
Your orthodontist may have given you special guidance on cleaning your specific brand of retainer. Always elect to follow your orthodontist’s instructions for cleaning a retainer over other recommendations. For you, that medical professional may be the closest source within the dental industry. That trained expert hears about trends and breakthroughs on how to clean a retainer. In addition, your orthodontist is the one with first-hand knowledge from patients. Just like you, they’ll let the orthodontist know about any successful results from the retainer-cleaning steps they’ve tried.
How to Clean a Retainer if it is a Removable Style
Take the following steps to clean removable retainers:
- After removing your retainer from your mouth, rinse it under warm water for a few seconds.
- Cleansing your retainer twice a day is usually sufficient. Use castile soap, which is vegetable oil-based. It’s less harsh than other soaps.
- Take a toothbrush that has a soft bristle and brush off the food bits and plaque from the retainer. A cotton swab is great for getting into those tiny creases that a brush can miss. NOTE: If your dentist recommends using a retainer cleansing solution and ultrasonic machine, do that instead.
- Rinse under warm water and then place the retainer back inside your mouth or into its case and fill the container with distilled water.
For yellowing retainers, you’ll need to apply a different technique. Pour two tablespoons of baking soda into a small bowl, and then add a few drops of water to form a paste. Dip your soft bristle toothbrush in the mixture, and then gently scrub the retainer.
Cleaning a Retainer if it is the Fixed Type
Be sure to brush your teeth daily. Since the permanent retainer is fixed by being attached to your teeth, you’ll need to use an interdental brush and dental floss to clean between each tooth. Otherwise, the plaque will lodge and can result in gum disease. Use both cleaning tools because the floss cleans will clean in between the teeth and retainer. Meanwhile, the interdental brush cleans the small spaces located near your gum lines.
- First, visit your orthodontist to determine which size interdental brush is best for you
- Floss, then use the interdental brush
- Brush your teeth to remove the debris
Things to Avoid Before You Try to Clean a Retainer
Your retainer is at least partially made of acrylic plastic. When cleaning a retainer, that material can warp if you use harsh chemicals such as Pepsi Cola and other soda beverages. In addition, extreme heat can damage your retainer by causing it to reshape into an ill-fitting device. Whatever method you use for how to clean a retainer, avoid using boiling water to sanitize it.
Ricci Orthodontics Believes in Your Smile
We hope you’ve found these steps on how to clean a retainer helpful. You can find out more by visiting our Georgia office. At Ricci Orthodontics, we specialize in servicing the dental needs of the residents in John’s Creek and the surrounding areas including:
- Peachtree Corners
- Sugar Hill
Some of our orthodontic treatment services are:
- Various types of braces for all ages
- Invisalign® for adults and teens
- Clear plastic retainers
- Permanent plastic retainers
- Hawley orthodontic retainers
Cleaning a retainer correctly prolongs the investment you’ve already made in straightening your teeth. To learn more, contact us at 678.932.0308 to set up an appointment today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about how to clean a retainer. We look forward to meeting you and giving you the premium orthodontic service you expect.