How to Clean Clear Retainers For Teeth Properly?

Published Date: Updated Date: Reading Time: 6 min 0 Comment
Clean Retainer

Your orthodontist has just informed you that your braces are ready to be taken off, which is wonderful news. You're undoubtedly eager to show off your smile after spending the necessary time, energy, and money to make it perfect. However, you may have also discovered that wearing a retainer after your braces are taken off is necessary to correct your teeth permanently. Compared to braces, a retainer is significantly less obvious and simpler to maintain. Whatever kind of retainer you choose, you should be sure you understand how to take care of it. Let's discuss how to clean retainers properly, regardless of the kind you purchase.

Looking to get your teeth straightened? Take a Free Assessment today

What is An Orthodontic Retainer?

An orthodontic device called a retainer is used to help teeth "retain" their new positions. Our teeth move throughout our lives, and if we don't use a retainer, they will move once more.

The purpose of a retainer is to hold teeth in place after they are relocated by braces or an aligner procedure. Retainer wear needs to be consistent with your orthodontist's instructions to preserve the outcomes your investment deserves.


Should I Clean My Retainer?

After having their braces removed, many people must wear retainers all the time for a while. This is a result of teeth not being cemented in a firm setting. During time, they may shift even after being realigned and straightened using braces.

You may be curious about retainer maintenance if you wear it. The retainer rapidly gathers germs, plaque, and tartar since it stays within your mouth and presses up on your teeth. You should clean your retainer daily, just like you would with your teeth.

Cleaning Retainers According To The Type

Finding out what kind of retainer you have is the first step in taking care of it. Retainers come in three varieties:

  • Hawley retainers are made of acrylic and custom-molded to fit your teeth. To help keep the retainer in place, they feature a wire. Because this kind of retainer is detachable, cleaning is simple
  • Essix, Vivera, or transparent aligners are some names for clear plastic retainers. These practically undetectable retainers fit over your teeth. Although they are simple to remove, they are not as strong as Hawley retainers.
  • Fixed, or bonded, retainers may also be called permanent retainers. These are attached to your lower front teeth. You can’t remove this type of retainer. It’s usually put into place for months or even years.

How to Keep Your Retainer Clean

Following are the tips and tricks to clean your retainer according to the type.

Hawley And Transparent Plastic Retainers

You can take out your Hawley or clear plastic retainers to clean your teeth daily. Use these methods to clean your clear or Hawley plastic retainer:

  • As soon as you take your retainer out of your mouth, make sure to clean it while it's still wet. This will facilitate clearing away any debris before it dries.
  • After every meal, give your retainer a quick brushing with lukewarm water. Additionally, brushing your teeth is a good idea at this time.
  • Because toothpaste is abrasive and can scrape the surface of the retainer, combine lukewarm water and mild dish soap for a thorough clean. Scrub away plaque and other debris gently with a soft toothbrush or denture brush.
  • If needed, insert a cotton swab into the transparent plastic retainers' deepest ridges and grooves.
  • Suggest to your dentist that you immerse your retainer in a denture or retainer cleanser such as Polident or Efferdent. If soaking is advised, combine one cleaning tablet with a cup of warm water and adhere to the suggested timing on the package.
Clean Retainer
Clean Retainer with Lukewarm Water

Bonded or Fixed Retainers

Since these retainers are attached to your teeth, daily flossing is required to maintain their cleanliness. You will ultimately get the hang of this technique, even though it may seem scary at first. How to clean your permanent retainer is as follows:

  • Taking a 6-inch length of floss, insert it between your two front lower teeth using a floss threader.
  • Using the threader, hold one end of the floss while using your fingers to hold the other end.
  • To get the floss between your teeth and the gum line, just move it up and down between them once you've got it under your retainer wire. If at all feasible, the floss should gently pass beneath the gum line.
  • Next, move the floss sideways to the next region that needs cleaning. Bring it down till it's in your teeth.
  • Each tooth fixed to your permanent retainer should go through this procedure again.

Advice On How to Take Care of Removable Retainers

Following are the tips to take care of removable retainers:

Avoid Use of Heat

High heat can cause your retainer to bend and break. Don't put your retainer near:

  • Microwaves
  • Dishwashers
  • Dryers, and
  • Boiling water

Avoid the Chemicals

To achieve a spotless retainer, you don’t always need to use strong cleansers. According to a study done on Essix retainers, researchers found that chemical cleaning tablets didn’t reduce the number of bacteria any more than basic brushing did.

Replace When Needed

Retainers are prone to daily wear and tear like contact lenses and shoes. They might eventually need to be changed. As the plastic in Essix retainers tends to wear out, they may only last six months to a few years. If properly maintained, Hawley retainers can endure five to 10 years.

Make Your Case Clean

Additionally, remember to routinely clean the retainer case. Before putting your retainer away, try cleaning it once a day. Wash all of its surfaces gently with warm, soapy water. After washing it, pat it dry.

What Would Happen If Your Retainer Wasn't Cleaned?

We observe in an orthodontic practice that the most widespread case of retainer neglect is improper cleaning. People often neglect to properly clean their retainers because they are short of time and are unaware of the right cleaning procedure.

Although the mouth naturally contains an excessive amount of germs, an overabundance of them can lead to sickness. This harmful yeast is often found inside the mouth, but it has the potential to build up on your retainer and infect you. Throughout the time you wear it, your retainer will continue to gather tartar, plaque, and bacteria from your mouth. If you don't give it enough cleaning, it can eventually even begin to taste or smell odd.

Call us at +64 78108947 to learn more about cleaning the retainers

Brushing your teeth and maintaining your retainer are equally essential. To maintain the health of your retainer, you should clean it once a day using dish soap and warm water. Additionally, it's a good idea to brush it out after every meal. It is always preferable to ask your dentist or orthodontist for precise maintenance instructions for your retainer, as the advice in this article is generic in nature.


How often should my clear retainers be cleaned?

To avoid plaque and bacteria accumulation, it's advisable to clean your clear retainers once a day.

What kind of cleaner is best for clear retainers?

A moderate dish soap or retainer cleaning tablets are good options for a delicate cleanser.

Is it possible to clean my transparent retainers with toothpaste?

Under certain circumstances, your orthodontist might provide an illusion of a straighter smile in one day through dental bonding.