5 Retainer Care Tips From Your Orthodontist
Wondering how important taking care of your retainer really is? Read on to learn some tips on effective retainer care. The effectiveness of a retainer often depends on the care the user provides to it. A retainer that is properly protected and cared for can help the patient achieve a better smile and improve their oral health, whereas a retainer that is not cleaned, stored, and protected can lead to various oral health concerns.
A retainer is an important part of an orthodontic treatment plan. The retainer keeps teeth in their optimal alignment and prevents them from shifting back toward the position they were in before treatment started. The jawbone around your tooth roots eventually harden and become less malleable after orthodontic treatment, which stabilizes the teeth and reduces the need for retainer wear. However, until the mouth adjusts to the new alignment, it is imperative to wear the retainer as instructed by your orthodontist.
5 Tips for retainer care
There are certain things patients who wear retainers should do every day to ensure it is working properly and not increasing the chance of any oral health concerns developing. The following are five tips for retainer care from an orthodontist to help you achieve a better, healthier smile.
1. Store your retainer properly
One of the more important tips is to store the retainer properly. This helps protect it from harmful bacteria that could eat away at the surface of teeth and cause cavities, tooth staining, and other oral health concerns. Be sure to keep the case with you at all times. Take extra caution not to lose the case, especially while the retainer is inside. If for any reason the retainer does become lost, then visit the dentist for a new one as soon as possible.
2. Clean your retainer often
Perhaps the most important tip for retainer care is to keep it clean at all times, which is why it is so crucial to store it properly. In addition to properly storing the retainer, it is important to wash it daily. It is best to wash the retainer as soon as it is removed and while it is wet. Since toothpaste can damage certain retainers, it is recommended to either use warm water and dish soap or a retainer cleaning solution recommended by your dentist.
3. Protect the retainer from heat
Extreme temperatures can cause the retainer to become damaged. Many containers are composed of materials that are prone to melting, and any exposure to high temperatures may lead to a shifting in the shape of the retainer, making it ineffective or impossible to wear comfortably. Visit the dentist anytime the retainer is exposed to heat.
4. Replace a damaged retainer
It is also important to have a good understanding as to when the retainer should and should not be removed. Remember, the more the retainer is worn the better the results are going to be. Consequently, it is important to wear it as much as possible, and it should only be removed when absolutely necessary, such as while brushing, eating, or playing contact sports. Anytime the retainer becomes damaged for any reason, it is important to promptly visit the dentist for repair or replacement.
5. Practice good oral hygiene
It is always highly encouraged to practice good oral hygiene, but it may be even more important while wearing a retainer. When bacteria and food particles are left on and in between teeth, a retainer may make it more difficult for saliva to naturally wash it away, which can significantly increase the chance of oral health concerns such as enamel erosion or periodontal disease.
The benefits of proper retainer care after orthodontic treatment
All too many patients overlook the importance of proper retainer wear. By wearing the retainer properly, patients are able to most importantly keep the optimal teeth and jaw alignment that they have achieved by wearing braces or clear aligners. Additionally, keeping the retainer clean and in good condition can help avoid oral health and cosmetic concerns such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth stains. On the other hand, improper use of the retainer could lead to the need for orthodontic retreatment as teeth have a tendency to shift back to their original alignment.
The bottom line
Following these basic tips will ensure your retainer stays in the proper condition to keep your teeth in their proper alignment. Contact us at any time for information or to schedule an appointment.
Request an appointment here: https://www.coltsnecknjsmiles.com or call Colts Neck Center for Orthodontics & Invisalign at (732) 795-6097 for an appointment in our Colts Neck office.
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