The first questions our patients ask us when we deliver their retainers are: “how long should I wear them?” and “how do I clean them?”.
Well, as good rule of thumb, we suggest patients to wear their retainers all day 24/7 for the first 6 months after we remove their braces. Then, they can switch to wear them every day during night time. Finally after one year, a minimum of three times per week.
Retainer care most of the time does not require special chemicals or machines, but it is different depending on the type of retainer being used.
For clear retainers (Essix retainers) we suggest cleaning them three times a day with cold water and hand soap (tooth paste will scratch them and make them foggy). If well kept and maintained, these retainers should last at least 6 months and up to one year.
For acrylic retainers (Hawley retainers) we suggest cleaning them three times a day with hand soap or tooth paste and warm water. In case of plaque build-up, we recommend submerging them in white vinegar for 2-5 minutes and then scrub them gently while rinsing. This last procedure can be repeated as needed to prevent tartar and bacteria accumulation. These type of retainers are more durable and are fabricated to last a minimum of 3 years.
If not certain about some cleaning products sold over the counter or if you still have any questions, please contact us and speak with any of our experienced technicians.