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Cleaning and Caring for Retainers

You’ve been patiently waiting for the day that your braces come off, so you can finally see your new smile! It’s important to remember that after your braces are removed, there’s still more work to be done.

At the end of your treatment, you will receive a set of retainers to prevent your teeth from moving out of alignment. Since your teeth are at risk of shifting over time, wearing your retainer consistently is the best way to keep your smile in place. How long you have to wear your retainer will depend on how your retention phase is going. After the first year, you may only have to wear your retainer a few nights per week!

Just like wearing braces or Invisalign, retainers also require dedicated cleaning and care. Understanding how to clean retainers and the steps of retainer care will help you protect your braces investment for years to come.

Learn more about cleaning your retainer, how to take care of retainers, and how to safeguard your smile results. Request a free consultation with Lazzara Orthodontics today!

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How to Clean Retainers

When your braces finally come off, there are a few retainer options that Dr. Lazzara will recommend. In most cases, we use Essix retainers, which are removable clear retainers that mold to the teeth like Invisalign. 

Some cases will require traditional Hawley retainers, which are made from plastic and wire. If we determine that your teeth need a little more intervention, we may recommend a permanent retainer. Also known as a bonded retainer, it is made from a wire that is attached to the back of the lower teeth.

Each type of retainer comes with unique maintenance needs. Here are some tips on how to clean your retainer:

How to Clean Clear Removable Retainers

Whether you have Essix clear retainers or a Hawley plastic and wire retainer, they are relatively simple to keep clean. You should treat your retainer with the same level of care that you would give to your teeth! 

Cleaning your retainer daily is necessary since bacteria will quickly accumulate on it. We recommend using a toothbrush and a small dot of dish soap to brush every surface of your retainer. 

If you have a Hawley-style retainer, remember to brush carefully around the wires so as not to bend them. While using toothpaste to clean your retainer may be ok occasionally, using toothpaste every day can scratch or erode the plastic. Once you’re finished cleaning your retainer, remember to put it back in your case so you don’t misplace it!

How to Clean Permanent Retainers

When it comes to cleaning permanent retainers, there are additional things to add to your to-do list. Since this type of retainer is permanently bonded to the back of the teeth, keeping it clean is a bit more challenging. Taking some simple steps to clean your permanent retainer can help prevent plaque and other dental issues later on.

While brushing your teeth, you should give your bonded retainer special attention. Begin by gently brushing around and in between the wire and the teeth. After brushing your teeth, take a piece of floss and thread it under the retainer wire. Gently floss between each tooth that is attached to the bonded retainer. Use a little mouthwash or water to rinse your mouth out, and you’re done!

Caring for Retainers

Retainer care involves more than just keeping your retainer clean. Keeping your retainers in top condition will prevent you from having to replace them in the future. Carefully protecting and storing your retainer is the key to keeping your smile results! 

Here are some tips on how to take care of retainers.

Learn How to Care for Retainers After Braces From Lazzara Orthodontics

Once your braces are finally removed, you will be given a set of retainers that are included in your treatment plan. These days, there are many different types of retainers to fit your needs. Whether you have clear removable retainers, a Hawley retainer, or a permanent retainer, proper retainer care is the key to achieving a beautiful smile for life!

At Lazzara Orthodontics, we understand that a straight smile is an investment in your health! Wearing and caring for your retainer as directed protects that investment long-term. If you have any questions about smile retention, retainer care, or how to clean retainers, call our office or request a free consultation with us today!

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