Congratulations! You’ve completed your orthodontic treatment, and you now have a beautiful, healthy, and straight smile to take pride in. But just because you’re at the end of your treatment with braces, it doesn’t mean your orthodontic journey ends here. Once you complete treatment, your dentist in Gainesville, FL, will hand you a pair of retainers. At first, you might feel a bit frustrated with the idea of having to wear yet another oral appliance after years or many months of wearing braces.

After your braces move your teeth to perfect alignment, your retainers will help you keep that alignment indefinitely. As such, it’s important to wear them as directed by your Gainesville dentist and properly care for them, whether you’re wearing them or storing them. Prolong the lifespan of your retainers with these tips from Comprehensive Dental Care. Contact our dental clinic to schedule an appointment today!

Store Your Retainer In Its Container

Depending on how you care for your retainers, they can last anywhere from 5–7 years. But sometimes, patients can have their retainers for only a couple of hours before misplacing them. This is often due to patients misplacing their retainers. One of the biggest and most common errors patients with retainers make is wrapping their retainers in a napkin or leaving it out beside them while having a meal or brushing their teeth and flossing. We advise you to avoid placing your retainers anywhere other than their dedicated storage case! Anywhere else you place them will likely cause you to misplace them, and these surfaces can also be breeding grounds for bacteria. When you aren’t wearing your retainers, rinse them off with water and place them in their provided storage case.

Clean Your Retainers Properly

Just like your teeth and gums, your retainers need a good cleaning on a regular basis. Cleaning and sanitizing your retainer is critical! Just as important as cleaning your retainer is the products you use to clean them. If you use just any type of cleaner, such as those with harsh and harmful chemicals, like bleach, mouthwash, or toothpaste, your retainers will wear out in a flash. These cleaning agents are either too abrasive or harsh for your retainer to handle. Skip these cleaners and instead rinse your retainers in clean, running water, and brush them gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Rinse Your Retainers With Lukewarm Water

Now that you know you only need water and a soft-bristled toothbrush to cleanse your retainer, you might think that the hotter the water you use, the better. But, in this case, hotter water is not necessarily better. It’s important to note that you should never use hot water to rinse or clean your retainers. Using water that is too hot can warp the customized shape of your retainers, which can mean that they no longer fit as they should. Just like hot water, you should never use boiling water on your retainers. Instead, you should use lukewarm water to rinse your retainer and clean them with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Remove Your Retainers Before You Eat

One of the most important rules patients with retainers are given is that they should never eat while wearing their retainers. Leaving your retainers in your mouth while you eat can increase your risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues. It can also increase the risk that your retainers will break, crack, or chip. As such, it’s critical that you always remove them and place them in their dedicated containers before you eat, so you can help prolong their lifespan. In addition to eating, you should also remove your retainers before you enjoy hot drinks, like hot chocolate, hot tea, or hot coffee.