Did you just get your braces taken off? The next thing to do is getting your retainers made. While the journey to attain your ideal pearly whites may seem like a never-ending one, retainers actually signify the final phase of orthodontic treatment. Time to give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far.
But really, the function of a retainer does not really differ that much from that of braces. Its main purpose is to hold straightened teeth in position after the braces are removed, preventing a relapse (teeth moving back to their original position) from happening. After all, you don’t want all that hard work and forbearance to go to waste, do you?
It’s important to take proper care of your retainer once you get it. If you opt for a removable retainer, here are some tips on how to take care of it:
Keep it moist
Keep your retainers moist with a wet towel or soaked in a solution, especially since it’s made for a wet environment in the first place. The plastic keeps its shape better when it is not dessicated. Placing it in a dry environment like your bathroom cabinet for too long isn’t a great idea as it could end up aging your retainer prematurely.
Some people add baking soda into the water used for soaking the retainer to cleanse and disinfect it, keeping bad bacteria at bay and also for odour prevention. Alternatively, retainer cleaning solutions would do the trick too. Retainer cleaning tablets are specially designed to remove odour and debris from the retainers, helping to keep them looking nice and clean.
Soak in white vinegar mix once a week
Now, while this may seem like there’s a lot of soaking to be done, it’s really only once a week. White vinegar is a good option as it is a gentle disinfectant that is able to get rid of odours and residues. To keep your retainer free from bacteria, it’s best to soak it in a mixture of white vinegar and warm water in a 1:1 ratio on a weekly basis for about 15 minutes each time. Once it’s done soaking, make sure to thoroughly rinse it before your wear it.
Remove before eating
It’s crucial that you remove your retainers before you begin eating. Unlike dentures, retainers are not made for eating purposes. Thus, eating with your retainers on can really damage your retainer and cause food particles to get trapped in it. When taking off your retainer for a meal, try to avoid wrapping your retainer in a napkin or tissue so it does not end up being discarded inadvertently. If you can, once you’ve finished eating, brush or floss your teeth before putting your retainer back on.
Keep away from heat
Retainers aren’t made to withstand high amounts of heat, so try not to wash it in hot water, or store it in places near heat sources. This includes direct sunlight, your car dashboard, and even electric appliances that give off heat. Overexposure to heat can result in the melting or warping of the material, rendering the retainer unusable.
Braces in Singapore can cost quite a fair bit, but even if retainers are a lot more affordable, it’s not advisable to be lax in the proper maintenance and care for it. Ultimately, you don’t want to have to spend even more time or money for that perfect set of teeth. While saving is all and good, make sure not to skimp on choosing a good orthodontist to go to. After all, you want to know that you’re leaving your teeth in good hands.