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How to Take Care of Your Retainers
Getting your braces off is an exciting time. While braces are the most efficient way to get the smile of your dreams, there are a lot of rules surrounding what you can and can’t do with your braces. The upkeep may be annoying, but the end result is well worth it. But if you’re given retainers after you get your brackets and wires off, you’re not quite out of the clear yet. There are a few care tips you need to know to maintain your new smile.
Top Retainer Care Tips from Your Orthodontist
Always listen to your orthodontist for tips relevant to your particular smile. However, here are some of the top tips you need to know to properly maintain your retainer.
Always Remove Your Retainer Before Eating
Remember when you had to be careful not to let food get trapped in your brackets and wires? The same idea applies to your new retainer. When food gets trapped in your retainer, it allows bacteria to grow. Because your retainer can cover more of your mouth, it is easy for food to get trapped. This trapped food can cause plaque to develop, hurting your oral health. Always take your retainer out before you eat. Put it away in its case or set it on top of a clean tissue or napkin. But be careful not to throw your retainer out with the rest of your trash!
Brush with Your Retainer Out
While you may think you can kill two birds with one stone by brushing your teeth and retainer in one go, your retainer actually covers too much of your mouth for this to be efficient. Your retainer may also be holding onto bacteria or food that you won’t be able to reach while it is still in. In the mornings, brush and floss before you put your retainer in. At night, take your retainer out before you brush and floss again. If you’re looking to save time, pop your retainer in a cup of water and baking soda to soak while brushing and flossing.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals or Boiling Your Retainer
Properly cleaning your retainer is crucial for keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy. For the most part, using just toothpaste and water should be enough to clean your remove bacteria and leftover food. If you’re looking too deep clean your retainer, allow it to soak in a mixture of water and baking soda or vinegar. You could also potentially use a denture tablet. These are also great options for cleaning Invisalign retainers. However, you should never try to clean your retainer by using alcohol-based products or boiling it in hot water. Both can be damaging to the retainer’s plastic and may even cause it to change shape.
Clean Your Retainer Before You Store It
If you only need to wear your retainer for certain times of the day, you’ll want to ensure it is properly stored when you’re not wearing it. You should be given a special case for your retainer to set it in when it isn’t being used. Storing your retainer without properly cleaning it means it could grow bacteria and mold. If you put a bacteria or mold covered retainer in your mouth, you risk infection or getting sick. Always brush your retainer before you put it in your case. Let it soak in a cup of water and baking soda every so often to ensure you’re getting all the bacteria you may have missed.
Don’t Wear Your Retainer While Playing Sports
Retainers are expensive and annoying to replace if they’re lost or damaged. While you can’t avoid any action that may cause damage to your retainer, you should avoid wearing it in certain circumstances. If you play a sport where you may get hit in the mouth, you don’t want to risk damage to your retainer. Whether you have a traditional retainer or an Invisalign retainer, take it out while at practice or a game. Even sports you may not think of – like swimming – could be dangerous for your retainer. You don’t want to stop swim practice because your retainer is lost somewhere in the pool!
If you play contact sports, such as basketball, football or hockey, be sure to talk to your orthodontist about getting a special mouth guard. A properly-made mouth guard can replace your retainer during practices or games and protect your new smile from damage.
Improve Your Smile With Orthodontic Treatment at McDermott Orthodontics
If you live in Minnesota, then schedule an appointment with McDermott Orthodontics. We have several offices, including:
• Pequot Lakes – 218-568-5600
• Delano – 763-972-4444
• Brainerd – 218-829-1630
• Baxter – 218-829-1630
By undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is possible to have an attractive smile with beautiful white teeth. More importantly, you will have straighter teeth that will ensure that you can consume a healthy diet that includes fresh vegetables and fruits. Dr. Michael McDermott offers several types of orthodontic devices at his facilities, including:
• Ceramic braces – made with color-matching brackets
• Damon System braces – made with self-ligating brackets
• Traditional braces – made with metal brackets and wires
• Invisalign aligners – made from durable clear plastic
Call us today to schedule your free consultation at McDermott Orthodontics.
708 Elm Ave. E.
Dr. Michael McDermott earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Chemistry and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He followed his undergraduate degrees with a doctorate in dental surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with highest distinction.
Dr. Mike then furthered his dental education by earning a masters and certificate in Orthodontics at the University of St. Louis in Missouri.