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Caring for Your Permanent Retainer

Permanent RetainerIf you’ve completed your treatment with braces, you’ve most likely been instructed to wear a retainer at night. In other cases, patients have a retainer fixed, or bonded, to the back of their teeth. This promotes sustained placement of the teeth and the jaw, and eliminates the need for extensive dental work in the future. If this is you, perhaps you’re wondering how best to care for your bonded retainer. There are two main additions to your daily routine, and they are all you need to keep both your teeth and your retainer in good shape.

Pick the Right Products
You probably brush your teeth already, but a little extra care is needed with a bonded retainer. Find a toothbrush that has soft, fine bristles, and use gentle, gel toothpaste. Soft bristles and gel paste are less abrasive, and won’t damage the retainer. Spend time brushing the back of your teeth, where your tongue touches the retainer. This will cut down on plaque build-up and will keep the retainer materials clean.

Don’t Forget to Floss
The other important addition is a stepped-up version of flossing. Food particles can get caught between the bonded retainer and the back of your teeth. If these particles aren’t removed, the enamel can start to wear and eventually decay, causing major dental problems that require lengthy treatments. Use regular floss to get between your teeth, just like you would normally. Then, invest in some floss threaders so that you can get underneath the bonded retainer. Floss threaders look like a sewing needle, and are made out of a soft, moveable plastic. String the floss through the loop end of the threader and with the pointed end, thread the floss in between your retainer and teeth. This will loosen and remove food particles that are stuck in your teeth. It’s a bit tedious, but it will eliminate tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy.

Those daily changes will keep your teeth and your retainer clean, and the time spent wearing braces will pay off permanently. Along with the daily steps, make sure to schedule regular appointments to get your teeth cleaned, usually twice a year. Getting your teeth cleaned regularly will increase the health of your teeth, and make them whiter on the side. More importantly, any problems will be detected early, and treatment can start right away.

Be smart about taking care of your retainer, just like you are about caring for your teeth. Be cautious about what kind of foods you eat, and take small bites if something is hard or hot. Taking good care of your bonded retainer will keep your smile beautiful and your teeth healthy; it’s simply a matter of daily practices and common sense. If you ever have questions or concerns, get in touch with your orthodontist right away for help, advice, or an appointment.

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