Does having your braces removed mean that you’ve finally achieved freedom? Well, not quite. Now that your teeth have been straightened out, retainers need to be there to make sure they stay that way.
Much like braces, retainers require proper care and maintenance. Here are some things to avoid doing with your retainer:
Using abrasives on Your Retainer
Household abrasives make help clean your kitchen sink and bathroom floor, so why not use it on your retainer as well? It contains abrasive compounds that help scrub and remove debris from ceramic bowls and tiles. Ceramic appliances and tiles are hard and strong enough to endure it, but in the case of the retainer, being made of softer, more delicate materials, it will easily be damaged, regardless of the type of retainer.
A good orthodontist would have recommended a suitable amount of time for you to wear your retainer. It’s crucial to keep to the recommended schedule. Try not to skip days or nights wearing it and maybe get someone to remind you if you tend to forget. After all, the very purpose of a retainer is to make sure your teeth stay in place while the surrounding tissues get used to the new location. So if you don’t wear it, or remove it rather frequently, chances are you’re increasing the risk of relapse—causing your teeth to shift back to its original position, and essentially wasting all the time and effort you have spent on wearing braces.
Putting it On Wrongly
When trying to put on your retainer, you should ensure that it is fully inserted and seated, without any spaces left between your teeth and retainer. When removing your retainer, make sure not to flip it off with your tongue or pull it off forcefully on one end as this may result in your retainer breaking. The right way to remove a retainer is to gently loosen it in several places before easing it off gradually and putting it away securely in your retainer case.
Leaving in Reach of Pets/Children
Man’s best friend they may be, but no matter how much you adore your dogs, you should probably keep your retainer far, far away from their furry paws. After all, dogs seem to have an odd penchant for chewing on retainers. You don’t really want your retainer to become your pet’s new, expensive chew toy, do you?
Likewise, for children, especially for kids, you never know what they might do with your retainer once they get their hands on it. The possibilities range from them breaking it to the worst-case scenario, choking on it. Either way, you don’t want that to happen, so make sure your retainer is kept safely away and out of reach.
Washing it Wrongly
Avoid using things like dishwashers or boiling water to clean your retainer. Since most retainers are made of some form of plastic, exposing your retainer to heat sources like a dishwasher or boiling water can warp and ruin the material, making it no longer usable.
While mouthwash is fine for general oral hygiene, you should avoid using it to soak or rinse your retainer unless you know what it contains. This is because prolonged, concentrated exposure to some chemicals in the mouthwash like chlorhexidine can end up badly staining your retainer.
Braces instalment in Singapore tends to be far more expensive than the cost of getting a retainer. However, this doesn’t mean that you can be careless with your retainer. Money does not grow on trees, and you don’t want to waste a couple of hundred dollars on a new retainer too quickly.