Whether you just had your braces removed or use a retainer as a bite guard at night, clear plastic retainers serve very important purposes for dental health. Retainers that spend any amount of time in your mouth collect food particles, bacteria, and plaque just like your teeth, so it’s important to care for them like they are an extension of your teeth.
Let’s explore how to care for your clear plastic retainers, how to keep them clean and fresh, and how to know when it’s time to replace them.
Caring for Your Clear Plastic Retainers
To keep your clear plastic retainers in good condition, they shouldn’t ever be exposed to extreme temperatures or sunlight. Always remove them before consuming any hot or ice cold liquids, and don’t leave them sitting out.
Clear plastic retainers degrade quickly if they are allowed to dry out. When not in your mouth, it’s a good idea to keep your retainers in water or a cleaning liquid. The liquid keeps bacteria or debris from drying and bonding with the plastic.
Keeping clear plastic retainers clean is vital for their care and your dental health. Wearing your retainers diligently is great for keeping your teeth in place, but they will only be as healthy for your teeth as they are clean.
Cleaning Clear Plastic Retainers
It’s easiest to clean your clear plastic retainers as soon as you remove them. This way, any plaque or debris won’t have time to harden, where it will be more difficult to clean away. If you wear retainers during the day, be sure to at least rinse them well after each meal. To clean them more thoroughly, use a mild dish soap and soft-bristled toothbrush to carefully remove food particles and plaque. You can also use a swab to get into tight grooves.
Occasionally, you might decide to soak your clear plastic retainers using warm water and a cleaner made for that purpose. Soaking can be useful for removing odor and difficult-to-reach particles. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly before replacing it in your mouth if you decide to soak them.
It’s important to clean your retainer like you clean your teeth in order to prevent bacteria or plaque from turning into tartar or causing decay. If not properly and regularly cleaned, clear plastic retainers can reintroduce negative elements to your brushed teeth and cause problems. To prevent this, let’s talk about how to get your clear plastic retainers good and clean.
Be aware that some cleaning agents, like toothpaste, are likely too abrasive to use on plastic. Cleaning your clear plastic retainers with safe cleaning solutions will be more effective and help them last longer.
Do You Need to Replace Your Clear Plastic Retainers?
Eventually, clear plastic retainers wear out and need to be replaced. You may need to get a new retainer if your current one is cracked, dried out, brittle or breaking. Clear plastic retainers used as bite guards need to be replaced regularly, as any grinding of the teeth will wear them down over time. When it’s time to replace, let your dentist know. They can make you a new one by taking a quick set of impressions and molding a new clear plastic retainer from dental plastic resin.
If your clear plastic retainer has seen a bit of excessive wear, it might be time for a new one. Making a new retainer is quick, painless, and easy, so book your appointment online today and keep your teeth where they belong!