Orthodontic care does end with the removal of the aligners. Dental experts recommend using teeth retainers to stabilize the new teeth arrangement. The minimum duration of using a retainer is four to five months. In certain cases, retainers require lifetime usage. For long-term use, people need to use retainers intermittently (three to four times a week). It is important to take care of retainers to ensure good oral health. Here are some tips for taking care of retainers-
1. Food Choice
Some retainers can be taken off before a meal. However, some retainers are affixed to the teeth. In such cases, certain food choices can damage the teeth bonded with retainers. Therefore, one should avoid foods like Hard Foods like nuts, Crunchy Chips, Sticky Gummies, Candies, and Caramel, Sweets and soda, Highly acidic beverages, etc.
2. Right Handling
Although retainers are supposed to be worn all day long, there are certain times that they need to be taken off (for plastic or removable cases). It is advised not to use retainers while eating, cleaning, participating in sports, and dental visits. Ensuring the retainer serves its purpose correctly is not enough. One must make sure that the tool doesn’t damage or hurt the gum or teeth due to mishandling.
3. Proper Cleaning
Just like tooth brushing, retainers also need to be cleaned. A dirty retainer contributes equally to stinking breath and poor oral hygiene. For regular cleaning, one can use a small amount of ordinary toothpaste. For specialty care, dentists often recommend using denture cleansers and soaking into the cleaning solution (for plastic/ removable retainer). In order to prevent odor and plaque buildup, one should rinse after each meal. If the retainer cannot be taken out when flossing, one must use floss threaders.
4. Using Protective Case
Proper storage is important when teeth retainers are not in use. Instead of leaving it wrapped in tissues or napkins, one can use a protective case. It not only keeps the retainer clean and hygienic but also prevents the chances of accidentally being thrown away or lost.
5. Keeping Retainers From Dried Out
As odd as it may sound, retainers need to be kept moisturized. These tools get easily dried out when not in use. To prevent damage, one can use specialty care liquids, gurgle with salt water, or just soak the retainer for a few hours in cool water.
6. Regular Follow Up Visits
It is important to continue with the follow-up visits with the dental specialist to make sure the retainers are fulfilling their job. The expert can tell whether retainers need to be replaced, cleaned, or removed. Experts also conduct a thorough inspection to ensure the teeth are well-fitted and there are no potential concerns with the gum.
7. Out of The Contact Of Heat
It is important to avoid leaving the retainer in any areas where it could be exposed to excessive heat since heat can melt or deform the plastic. One must avoid keeping teeth retainers in a car in direct sunshine, near a heater or a stove, and soaking in boiling water.
Last but not least, one must follow the orthodontist’s instructions to make sure everything goes fine. A general obeying of the do’s and don’ts specified by the specialist will help the patients to reap long-term benefits and face less difficulty.