Congratulations! Your orthodontic treatment is complete, and you can now show off your beautiful smile! There’s one last step, however, to make sure your teeth stay as straight as possible – a retainer! Teeth shift naturally over time, so to avoid having all your hard work go to waste, we at DaBell Orthodontics with locations in Spokane Valley and Cheney put together 12 tips to help ensure you’re caring for your retainer.
1. Clean Regularly
Treat your retainer like your own teeth! After each wear, scrub your retainer carefully with a toothbrush and water. Avoid brushing your retainer with toothpaste – the toothpaste can be abrasive to your retainer and cause scratches that make it harder to keep your retainer clean.
2. Wear Often
Wear your retainer as frequently as your Orthodontist recommends. As much as it may be a nuisance, wearing your retainer properly is the best way to keep your smile looking perfect. Remember, retainers only work if you wear them!
3. Avoid Heat
Your retainer will only do its job if it fits properly! Dr. Jake will set you up with the perfect retainer for your mouth, but it’s up to you to make sure it stays that way. Avoid leaving your retainer in a hot area – like a windowsill or a hot car. This will cause it to melt or warp. Never put your retainer in boiling water either – you may think boiling an appliance is a great way to get it as clean as possible, but the high heat will ruin it!
4. Avoid Dogs
I know, you may love your pooch, but they sure do have a knack for snacking on retainers! Keep your retainer safe and out of the way up high so pups can’t get to them.
Leave your retainer on a higher surface so pups can’t get to them.
5. Avoid Napkins
If you wrap your retainer in a napkin during meals, it can be easy for your waiter or you to accidently toss your retainer in the garbage. To avoid a trip into the dumpster, keep your retainer in your retainer case!
6. Soak Your Retainer
To add a little extra clean to your retainer, try soaking it. You can purchase Retainer Brite, which comes in tablet form, or you can make your own cleaning solution by mixing 1 part sodium hypochlorite bleach with 10 parts water. Soak for 5-10 minutes and your retainer will be squeaky clean!
7. Replace Your Retainer
Even a well-made retainer will eventually wear out. If you see your retainer is getting worse for wear or is fitting differently than it used to, swing by and visit Dr. Jake at DaBell Orthodontics in Spokane Valley and Cheney. Replacing your retainer when necessary is an important part of maintaining your smile.
8. Retainers Are Forever
We can’t stress this enough – wear your retainer! Your teeth can shift throughout your life. Even if you think your teeth are straight and will stay that way, it’s really important to continue wearing your retainer!
9. Be Careful When Putting it On
When you put your retainer on, make sure it is on all the way. There should be no spaces between your teeth and your retainer. When you take off your retainer, avoid flipping it off with your tongue or pulling it off forcefully on one side as this can break your retainer. Loosen your retainer in several places when removing it and then ease it off. Don’t forget to put it away in your retainer case!
10. Brush Your Teeth
Before and after putting on your retainer, brush your teeth. If you place your retainer on dirty teeth, it will cause your retainer to get dirty much quicker, and it’s not good for your teeth either.
11. Bring Your Retainer
Whenever you come in to see the Orthodontists, bring your retainer so we can check that it is fitting just the way it should!
12. Don’t Lose It
This may sound obvious, but don’t lose your retainer! Always keep it in its case when you’re not wearing it, and keep it out of reach of any dogs or small children. If you do happen to lose it, stop by DaBell Orthodontics in Spokane or Cheney and we will make you a replacement.
Caring for your retainer will help ensure your teeth continue to look great and that you get the most from your investment, and don’t forget to show off your great smile.
Want more information on retainers? Check out our Retainer Page.