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Quick Guide for Retainer Wear and Care
A retainer is a dental device that has a variety of purposes in general and cosmetic dentistry. The effectiveness of a retainer is largely dependent upon the amount of care the patient provides and whether they wear the device properly.
How to care for a retainer
It is important to be familiar with how to properly wear and care for a retainer to ensure it is able to fulfill its purpose without any complications developing. The following are four useful tips for wearing and caring for a retainer.
Keep the retainer clean
One of the most essential precautions to follow when caring for a retainer is to keep the retainer clean at all times. A retainer that is not properly washed is prone to picking up harmful bacteria. This can damage the dental enamel and significantly increase the risk of enamel erosion, periodontal disease, and oral infection.
The best way to keep the retainer clean is to pick a place and time to clean the retainer each day. While toothpaste may work well, it is important not to brush the retainer too vigorously as doing so may cause scrapes and damage it.
Store the retainer properly
For many of the same reasons it is important to keep the retainer clean, it is also important to properly store the retainer as well. The main reason both of these care techniques are important is that it helps reduce the chance of bacteria accumulating on the surface of the retainer. Be sure to always have a reliable case on hand and safely store the retainer anytime the retainer needs to be removed. By doing so, the retainer can be kept germ-free, protected from damage, and maintain its cosmetic appearance.
Wear the retainer often
Properly caring for the retainer is only half the battle. It is equally important to ensure it is worn properly and often enough. The specific instructions for wearing the retainer are often slightly different for each patient. It is important to follow the specific instructions provided by the dentist. A retainer should essentially be worn at all times, excluding while eating, brushing teeth, and perhaps playing contact sports.
Remember, the more the retainer is worn, the more effective it is going to be. Failure to wear it consistently enough can cause cosmetic and oral health complications.
Practice good oral hygiene
It is also essential to practice good oral hygiene while wearing a retainer to ensure oral health complications do not develop. In fact, it may be even more important to ensure a consistent oral care routine is followed when wearing a retainer because any bacteria or food particles left on or in between the surface of teeth can become trapped by the retainer and increase the chance of enamel erosion. By practicing good oral hygiene, however, patients can ensure their smile looks great and their teeth remain bright once the retainer is no longer needed.
Retainer wear and care FAQs
The following are several common questions that dental professionals receive about retainer wear and care.
Can I drink while wearing my retainer?
You may be able to drink water while wearing your retainer, but you should not drink soft drinks, tea, coffee, alcohol, and other beverages that contain sugar, caffeine, etc., as it can have a negative impact on your oral health as well as the condition of your retainer.
Do I need to brush my teeth after every time I eat?
It is strongly encouraged to brush your teeth often while wearing a retainer. This includes after every time you eat when it is possible to do so. Otherwise, food particles can become trapped by the retainer and increase the risk of oral health concerns such as stained teeth, cavities, and gum disease.
What happens if I do not wear my retainer for a few days?
You should try and wear your retainer consistently every day. However, the fact is that life happens, and there may be times when you are unable to do so, such as forgetting to bring your retainer on a weekend trip. If it has only been a few days, then the retainer should still fit. However, if it has been weeks or months, then there is a higher likelihood that teeth have shifted.
The bottom line
Taking proper care of a retainer is simple and easy to do. Call us for more information either if you think you need a retainer or have one and need some advice. We are happy to take your call and help you on your path to great oral health.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Retainer in Brooklyn, NY.
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