Taking care of your retainers
Follow these care instructions to avoid losing or damaging your retainers. Taking proper care of your retainers will allow them to last a long time and keep your teeth in place.
- Store them properly- To prevent breaking them or losing them, your retainers should be kept in the hard case given to you on the same day you received the retainers. Write your name, address, and phone number on the case to increase the chances of your retainers being returned to you if you ever lose them.
- Avoid pockets and napkins- The most common way people break their retainers is by stuffing them into their pockets without the case. The retainers will break as soon as you sit down! The most common way people lose their retainers is by wrapping them in napkins during meal times. The retainers will look like trash and be thrown away or forgotten as soon as you clean the table or leave the restaurant.
- Avoid heat- We use heat to make the retainers, so heat will destroy them too. Keep them away from hot water, hair irons, clothes irons, heaters, stoves, etc. Do not forget them in your hot car or in the laundry machines. Do not boil them or clean them in the dishwasher.
- Keep them away from pets and children- Both Essix and Hawley retainers will not withstand the chomp of a dog’s teeth or the stomp of a child’s feet. Keep them out of their reach.
- Not adjust them yourself- Never try to adjust or alter any parts of the retainer by yourself. Come into one of our offices and the orthodontist will help get them back to what they are supposed to look and feel like.
- Brush your retainers daily- Use cold water mixed with hand soap or dish soap. You can also brush them with a non-alcoholic mouthwash (like Listerine Zero, about $6.00 for X ozs at Walmart). Do not use toothpaste to clean the retainers; it will scratch and fog the plastic.
- Soak your retainers at least once a week- Use cold water with cleaning tablets specifically made for dental appliances (like Efferdent, about $6.00 for 120 tablets at Walmart). This will help eliminate odors and kill bacteria to deep clean and refresh your retainers.
- Avoid harsh cleaners- Do not use alcoholic mouthwash, Clorox, Windex, or any other toxic household cleansers on your retainers. They can damage the plastic and corrode the wires.