Using, Cleaning, and Caring for Your Dental Retainer

After you get your braces removed, your orthodontist, Dr. Kendra Pratt Manning, will give you a removable retainer to wear in order to keep your teeth in their new positions. You should try to wear the dental retainer as often as possible, removing it to eat, or as per your orthodontist’s instructions.

Using your Retainer After Braces

  • Be sure to wear your dental retainer as often as your orthodontist instructs.
  • Remember to bring your retainer with you to orthodontist appointments so your orthodontist can check the fit.
  • It’s normal to have difficulty speaking with your retainer at first. Your mouth will adjust, making speech easier as time goes on.

Can I Eat with My Retainer?

Do not eat with the retainer in, as chewing may damage it. Take out the retainer when you eat and store it in its case.

And remember, never wrap a retainer in a napkin or tissue — you or someone else might accidentally throw it in the trash! And you don’t want to have to go digging.

How do I Brush My Teeth With a Retainer?

Always remove your retainer before you brush your teeth. You can’t reach most areas of your mouth when your retainer is in and the toothbrush won’t remove plaque and bits of food stuck in your mouth. Instead, brush and floss after you’ve removed your retainer, and then clean and brush the retainer separately.

How to Clean Your Dental Retainer

You can clean your retainer with your normal toothbrush and toothpaste to remove any plaque that’s built up throughout the day. We recommend brushing your retainer with a toothbrush and liquid hand soap every morning when you remove it. If your retainer needs more thorough cleaning, try soaking your retainer in a glass of water with some baking soda. After cleaning your retainer, be sure to store it in its case when not in use to protect it from damage or bacteria.

How Often Should I Clean My Retainer?

Retainers might start to develop a smell or discoloration. This can be caused be a lack of proper or regular cleaning. Remember to store it in a container with sufficient airflow so it doesn’t breed mold and bacteria. Best practice is to clean your retainer at least once everyday. However, here are some signs that your retainer needs a deep cleaning:

  • The retainer smells or tastes bad
  • There is a film on the retainer
  • The retainer looks cloudy
  • It has been more than a week since it was cleaned
  • There are white spots on the retainer. White spots could be mineral buildup (tartar), plaque that causes cavities in teeth, or a combination of the two.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals or Extreme Temperatures

Be sure not to subject your retainer to extreme temperatures by leaving it in hot or cold places. Expansion and contraction of the plastic and metal can cause your retainer to break after repeated exposure.

What Do I Do If My Retainer Breaks?

If yours breaks, call your orthodontist’s office right away so you can get it fixed. A broken retainer will not help your teeth the way it should.
If you have any questions about using, cleaning or caring for your retainer, Dr. Pratt Manning can help. Contact your orthodontist in The Woodlands, TX at 281-367-0050 (Woodlands) or 936-596-1200 (Montgomery) today!