Let’s get this STRAIGHT. After working so hard to get those teeth perfect, we want to make sure that they stay that way. That is why we always give retainers at the end of orthodontic treatment. Tooth position ages just like the rest of the body, we call this “relapse”. Retainers are a way to prevent your teeth from aging. The clear plastic retainers we use are called Essix retainers and with proper care, can last 3-5 years on average. Sometimes they can even last 20 years if well maintained! Here is a breakdown of the recommended way to take care of your Essix retainers:
1) Brush before wearing them each time with a Soft Bristled Toothbrushand Mild Hand Soap. Cleaning the retainers with toothpaste is not recommended as toothpaste contains mild abrasives that can scratch the retainers over time making them foggy and creating plaque traps.
2) Occasionally, you can soak the retainers in a solution specifically designed for them. We recommend Retainer Brite. Be sure to follow the instructions and don’t soak the retainers for any longer than recommended time (15 minutes for Retainer Brite) because the solution contains persulfate, an allergen that can be harmful if not properly rinsed from the retainers.
3) Additionally, you can purchase sonic cleaners from our office that vibrate the solution around retainers helping knock out tenacious plaque and grime. These sonic cleaners can be used at home and work in a similar way as the ones used by professional dental offices.