At the end of orthodontic treatment, a patient will wear retainers to hold their teeth in proper alignment. If retainers are not worn, the teeth have a high chance of moving out of position. So, after braces are removed, we give the patient a retainer and a retainer case to keep their retainers in. The retainer case keeps you from bending the wires or squishing the retainer and possibly breaking them.
Over time, the inside of the retainer case and the retainer will have stuff accumulate on it. Some of this stuff is not good for your health so you need to keep the retainer and retainer case clean. This crusty stuff on your retainer can cause the retainer not to fit. The crusty stuff is bacteria and saliva that has dried and looks white in appearance. Using a sharp pointed instrument will remove it. Be careful with the sharp instrument so that you don’t jab yourself. Some people have more of a problem with plaque accumulating on their retainers than others..
Here are some ideas about how to keep your retainers and retainer case clean
1. When you take your retainers out of your mouth, rinse them off until you get the saliva off of them. They should not feel slimy when you put them into your retainer box. Brush the retainers with your toothbrush everyday. Make sure that you don’t bend the wires if it has them.
2. Visually look at the inside of your retainer case. If you see crusty stuff inside the case, wipe it out with a paper towel or cleaning wipe.
3. Don’t place water inside your retainer case. Some people think that retainers need to be kept in water all the time. They don’t. Retainers do not distort due to staying dry. If you do keep them in water all the time, germs can grow inside your retainer box. Leave your retainers in your retainer box dry. If you don’t need the protection, leave the retainer box top open so it can air dry.
4. If your retainer case gets really dirty, ask your orthodontist for a new one. They will be more than happy to give you a new one.
5. Finally, the best way to clean a retainer and retainer case is with a 10% bleach solution. To make the bleach cleaning solution, use one part bleach to nine parts water. Leave the retainer and retainer case in the solution for about ten minutes and that will reduce the amount of germs.
If you don’t want to work with bleach, you can consider Blazer Ultrasonic Retainer Cleaner and Retainer Brite Cleaning Tablets.
Everyone must watch their retainers and retainer case. It can get very soiled over time. Keeping your retainers and retainer case clean is very important for the retention phase of orthodontic treatment.