Tips for Keeping Your Retainer Clean

You’re onto the next step in your orthodontic journey, and that’s keeping your teeth straight with your retainer. Maintaining your new, beautiful smile includes regular cleaning of your retainer as a part of your oral health routine. At Coastal Family Orthodontics, our team of family orthodontists is here to provide support for keeping your retainer clean and your smile healthy.

What Type of Retainer Do You Have?

Understanding which type of retainer you have will help you keep it fresh for years to come. Several types of retainers are available, but the most common types are removable plastic retainers and removable metal retainers. The type of retainer you have is determined by your orthodontist to best fit your needs. 

  • Plastic retainers are clear or transparent, similar to clear aligner trays used for orthodontic treatment. These removable retainers are worn over the front and backs of your teeth, to hold your new smile in its proper position.
  • Removable metal retainers, also known as Hawley retainers, use a mix of metal and acrylic to maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment. This type of retainer preserves your smile using a metal wire that surrounds the front of your teeth and an acrylic plate that fits behind your teeth and in the roof of your mouth.

Caring for Your Retainer

There are a few different techniques for cleaning off the bacteria, plaque, and tartar that may build up on your retainer over time. By regularly cleaning your retainer and storing it in a retainer case when it’s not being worn, your retainer will stay in as great of shape as your teeth. 

How to Get Plaque Off of Your Retainer 

For removable retainers, a simple way to keep them clean is to use denture cleaner or a white vinegar soak. Soaking your retainer with either of these methods will freshen up your retainer and keep it ready for wear. You can also gently scrub your retainer with a toothbrush, just like you’re brushing your teeth.

How Often Should You Clean Your Retainer?

Our Charleston orthodontists recommend doing a gentle cleaning before your daily or nightly wear to ensure you put in a clean retainer. For deeper cleaning, our team recommends a weekly soak to eliminate any plaque, tartar, and bacteria that may be present.

5 Signs You May Need to Clean Your Retainer

Cleaning your retainer is just as important as cleaning your teeth! The following signs are indicators that it’s time to clean your retainer: 

  • You notice a cloudy appearance, white buildup, or film
  • You notice bad breath odor or foul taste
  • It’s been more than a week since you last cleaned your retainer
  • Your retainer becomes uncomfortable to wear
  • You begin developing cavities or sensitivity in your teeth

Have More Questions About Retainers? Call Coastal Family Orthodontics Today!

Our orthodontists in Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, and beyond want to help you achieve your best smile for life. If you’re looking for an orthodontist near you, contact one of Coastal Family Orthodontics’ nine convenient locations to schedule a complimentary consultation!

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