Closeup of a set of pink Hawley retainers worn after orthodontic treatment is finished in San Antonio, TX

How to Clean Your Retainer

January 29, 2021 3:49 am

After orthodontic treatment, patients are given metal retainers or clear aligners to help keep their teeth from shifting out of their new positions. These retainers and aligners need to be worn consistently every single day in order to work properly — which means that they have to be thoroughly cleaned in order to keep your mouth healthy!

Below is our guide to keeping your retainer or clear aligners germ-free and clean to help you maintain a healthy smile.

Types of Retainers

Here are the most common types of retainers:

  • Hawley retainers are retainers that have an acrylic base that conforms to your mouth, with one or more wires to keep them in place.
  • Clear aligner retainers are trays molded to your teeth to subtly retain their shape or straighten them.
  • Bonded retainers are usually attached to your lower front teeth and consist of a wire behind the teeth. These retainers are meant to be permanent.

How to Clean a Removable Retainer

Hawley retainers and clear aligners are removable, which means that they can be easily cleaned on a regular basis. It’s best to clean your retainer as soon as possible after you remove it from your mouth and safely store it in its case to prevent loss and damage.

Here are steps you should follow to ensure you’re cleaning your retainer or clear aligners properly:

  1. Rinse your retainer with lukewarm water after each meal, and brush your retainer out to remove any food particles.
  2. Mix mild dish soap with lukewarm water to thoroughly clean your retainer with a toothbrush.
  3. Use a cotton swab to clean the deeper grooves of your retainer or aligner.
  4. Regularly clean your retainer using a denture or retainer-cleaning solution.

If your retainer develops hard-to-remove buildup, consult with our team!

How to Clean a Bonded Retainer

Cleaning a bonded retainer requires meticulous attention. Twice a day, you’ll need to properly brush it and floss around it (floss threaders, water flossers, and electric toothbrushes are particularly helpful) to dislodge any plaque or debris. Additionally, be sure to schedule routine dental cleanings so your hygienist’s special tools can scrape away any accumulated debris.

Orthodontics in San Antonio, TX

If you or your child is ready for orthodontic treatment, please contact Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics! In addition to our comprehensive pediatric dental services, we offer braces for children, teens, and adults. We strive to help every patient love their smile. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Contact Us


Categorised in:

Comments are closed here.