How To Clean A Retainer (Complete Guide)


If you use and wear a retainer, you might be thinking about how to clean retainers. The retainer is something that is placed in the mouth countering the teeth. Hence it is quite probable that it may gather plaque, tartar, and bacteria. Similar to using a toothbrush daily as it needs to be cleaned regularly even the retainer deserves some cleaning.

Most people prefer wearing a clean retainer all the time as it is worn after the braces are off. That is mainly due to teeth being set in a free environment. Although it has been rectified by the brace and shifted to a better position, over time it can experience a slight shift.

Retainers assist the tissues and the muscles in the mouth so that it holds the new placement. A few may sense the urge to put on the retainers during night time so that the teeth stay in place.

Let us take a closer look to know the various kinds of retainers, how to clean a retainer and other information to maintain of how to clean your retainer.

Cleaning varies by type

Taking care of the retainer begins with recognizing that kind you have, as in total there are 3 types of retainers

  1. Hawley guitars are made from acrylic material so that it fits in the mouth perfectly. On the other hand, it comprises a wire. Thi sort of retainer is detachable so it is quite an easy fix to get it cleaned. Simply the best way to clean retainers by telling you how to clean retainers.
  2. The retainers are made up of clear plastic which is called Rivera, clear aligners and Essix. Such retainers sometimes slip the teeth and are quite visible. Hence being easy to remove but are not that lasting as the Hawley retainers. This is how one can how to clean your retainer.
  3. Bonded or fixed retainers are also known as permanent retainers. This is based on the front lower teeth and is only preferred to be used when one has a higher risk of teeth shift. This kind of retainer is non-removable and is generally put into the mouth for several months or years.

How to get the retainers cleaned up completely?

1. Clear plastic and Hawley retainers

Both Clear plastic and Hawley retainers can be withdrawn from the mouth for cleaning regularly. So to get it cleaned follow the below-mentioned steps

  1. Right the moment the retainer is taken out of the mouth it should be clean as it is still wet. Hence making it easier to clean the debris before it starts hardening.
  2. The retainer should be washed after lukewarm water after every meal as it is a good idea, brushing the teeth regularly after eating.
  3. For a much denser cleaning, add dish soap and lukewarm water. Try using a toothbrush to scrub the debris and plaque.
  4. If required make use of cotton to get rid of the deepest debris stuck in the retainers and ridges.
  5. And still, if the debris does not seem to be wearing off, it is suggested that you take the retainer to the orthodontist or dentist.

2. Fixed, or bonded, retainers

Such sort of retainers is fixed on the teeth as one should floss regularly to keep it clean. Also, this entire procedure is very intimidating and one will have to get used to it. This is how you can get the permanent retainer cleaned

  1. Take a floss about 6 inches and use a floss thread to get the front and lower teeth flossed thoroughly.
  2. Grab an end of the floss with the mere fingers and their other end with the reader.
  3. In the sideways slide, the floss to the next area so to get it cleaned. Push it down to the teeth till the time thread is among the teeth.
  4. The entire procedure should be repeated for every tooth which is attached to the permanent retainer.

And if still the retainer is not getting cleaned don’t think twice to ask for expert advice. As they have a better understanding of what should be done in case things don’t go accordingly

Tips for removable retainer care

1. Avert from excessive heat

If the retainer in the case is exposed to too much heat it can get warmed up and can get ruined forever. Also, make sure that the retainer stays away from

  1. boiling water
  2. the dashboard of your car
  3. microwaves
  4. dishwashers
  5. washers and dryers

Make sure that the retainers are washed in lukewarm water.

2. Avert using the chemicals

There is not at all a need to make use of dangerous chemicals so to get the retainer clean like a new one. Even though a study of the Essix retainers, analysts came across the fact that making use of chemical cleaning agents does not minimize the count of bacteria more than a sophisticated brushing would.

With that being said already the cleaning tablets are quite effective at getting rid of cocci bacteria similar to Streptococcus bacteria. Which is the main reason of getting strep throat? This is an infection of the tonsils and throat which causes fever, red swollen tonsils, and sore throat.

3. Time your soak

If you dropped the idea of soaking the retainers in the chemical tablets, it’s a good one. As if you do so it can get the metal components corroded. Make sure that it gets soaked. One can do an instant mouthwash if you wish to freshen the smell of the retainers and kill the bacteria in it. Make sure to mix the parts in the lukewarm water. As if your mouthwash comprises alcohol best to soak it in the retainer in such kind of solution once in a while. As alcohol can corrode the plastic of the retainer completely.

4. Clean your case

One should ensure that the retainer is cleaned daily. Also, see if possible to get the cleaning a day before putting the retainer away. Scrub the surfaces in soapy and warm water. Also, rinse it off and finally pat to clear dry. This is how to clean clear retainers or how to clean a retainer.

All in All

This was the complete article on how to clean retainers If you have any questions related to how to clean retainers then you can mention it in comments.