What Is The Best Way To Clean Retainers
- Orthodontics

What Is The Best Way To Clean Retainers? (Cleaning By Type)

Thanks to the advancement of dental technology, braces especially the clear ones are popular nowadays for straightening misaligned teeth. But patients should know usually after the braces treatment is completed, they should continue wearing their retainers for some time to ensure their teeth do not return to their previous crooked shape.

A certified dentist may offer more than one type of retainer. So, a patient must know the many forms of cleaning a retainer to eliminate any sign of bacterial infection.

Why Is Wearing Retainers Important After Having Braces?

A person who wants to have their straight, beautiful teeth ultimately may have to endure more for the oral health procedure. Retainers are automatically a recommendation from your dentist or orthodontist to avoid your gums and teeth from reverting to abnormal shape. Wearing retainers may take months or years to slip in the mouth. Yet, many patients may have to wear one until the orthodontist sees progress. There are cases where gums experience movement, and further dental health problems may occur. A parent should guide their children on maintaining and taking care of their teeth during the aligner or retainer stage. 

Benefits of Retainers:

Why Do You Need To Clean Retainers?


Retainers can be a breeding hub of bacteria if left unclean for days, weeks, or months. It doesn’t excuse itself of being free from germs since food debris and saliva stick in it. How do you know when to do retainer cleaning? The orthodontic appliance will smell or taste bad before wearing it. Additionally, the retainer looks cloudy and dirty at first glance. White spots can also be visible due to the damage of tartar or plaque build-up in the retainer. If one or all of these signs show in retainers, it is time to clean retainers. Although many types such as clear, plastic, or fixed retainers may crack as well. It may be a better idea to visit an orthodontist to replace the broken retainers.

What Is The Best Way To Clean Retainers? (According To Types)

Is there a specific or just one best way to clean retainers? An orthodontist can offer more than one type of retainer to continue your braces treatment. Hence, you may have to do your DIY cleaning methods according to what kind of aligner or retainer you have. Furthermore, your dentist will always remind you to clean your retainers to prevent bacteria from spreading and damaging your dental health. Here are some of the tips that may help you clean your retainer correctly. 

Acrylic Fit With Wires (Hawley Retainers)

After dentures, many patients may get the standard type of retainers for continuous teeth alignment. The traditional wire connected retainers or Hawley retainer is made with acrylic material that may be sensitive to any chemical-based solution. Rinse your removable acrylic retainer with a brush softly. Do not use hot water when cleaning as it may destroy and damage the material too. Many Hawley retainers also have wires in them, so it is also great if you can wash these wires as well. Moreover, the cleaning process is similar to cleaning plastic retainers. However, acrylic may not need soaking unless indicated by your orthodontist. Only soak your aligner with the proper cleaning substance or solution.

Plastic Retainers

Many aligners are invisible or aesthetic in appearance. Invisalign is one of the popular appliances to go to by many young adults. When cleaning products such as this one, it is essential not to forget that they have their cleaner solution. Though many custom-made and ready to use plastic retainers today is BPA-free. It is safe to clean by using a toothbrush and rinsing it with lukewarm water. Deeper cleaning of plastic or Hawley retainers may need mixing lukewarm water with mild dish soap and gently scrub the surface. 

Fixed Or Bonded Retainer

A non-removable retainer is harder to clean. Thus, it is an excellent tip to use floss for removing hard to reach food debris from food. Also, be careful in flossing your retainers as you can also damage the wires and the material of the aligner itself. Don’t use chemicals, boiling water, microwaves, dishwasher, and other mechanical cleaners for retainers. Lastly, from all of the types, it is essential also to clean the case where you put your retainers. Most retainers may last five up to ten years. Hence, if you see your orthodontic retainers broken, visit your nearest dental clinic for a replacement. 

When Do You Replace Your Retainers?


After knowing more information about the best way to clean retainers, you may still need to go back to your primary dentist for a follow-up consultation. Yet, there are many cases where retainers and aligners need a replacement already. As soon as you see yourself getting severe toothache while wearing your retainers, your gums may have grown out of the cast or model. On the contrary, some of these retainers can become cracked or worn out. A dentist can also give additional tips on choosing which retainers are better after the previous orthodontics appliance.

If You Are Planning To Get An Orthodontic Treatment

Anyone can get their crooked and misaligned teeth a complete makeover by having braces, dentures, or retainers. If you are planning to get one, it is best to know what to expect and how much it would cost. A kid or a teenager that may need braces should first check if their soft gum tissues are healthy. On the contrary, young adults may also require braces. Regardless, crowded teeth may necessitate tooth extraction so the braces can fit properly. It is best to ask your dentist if you are fit to wear braces or retainers as soon as possible.

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