At Children’s Dental Center, we value your child’s dental health and strive to ensure you feel confident in helping them throughout treatment. Retainers are beneficial and powerful appliances when used correctly and can function efficiently for years when taken care of properly. Our team of pediatric dental care experts is here to share why cleaning and caring for a retainer is so important, as well as tips on how to do so.

So, What is a Retainer?

One of the most important tools in dentistry, retainers are a powerful appliance used to maintain the position of your child’s teeth. They are typically made of either plastic or metal material, depending on the type you are given. They are designed to fit uniquely inside your mouth according to their final position after primary treatment for maximized comfort.

How Long Are They Worn For?

Retainers are traditionally worn indefinitely. Your child can expect to wear it full-time for some months to ensure their teeth stay in place for as long as possible and prevent immediate relapse into their original position. This period of time will be determined by one of our expert pediatric dentists, Dr. Rowland, Dr. Selecman, Dr. Daniel, Dr. Greene, and Dr. Church. Your child can then switch to nightly use after that.

Children’s teeth and jaws continue to grow until the end of their teen years. They are ever-evolving and shifting. Therefore, it is essential for them to remember to keep to their retainer schedule as instructed to prevent any avoidable setbacks or complications.

Where Should It Stay When Not In Use

When your child does not need to wear their retainer, where should it live? Children’s Dental Center will provide a protective case to keep it in so it does not get misplaced or left behind. 

Retainers are often the victims of being hidden in napkins to be accidentally thrown out or forgotten about on a cafeteria table. Because they are easily lost, we recommend making it a point to double-check with your child it is secure during meals. If their retainer goes missing, let us know as soon as possible so we can provide you with a new one.

Why Cleaning and Caring for A Retainer Is Important

Best Practices For Cleaning and Caring For Your Child’s Retainer

Retainer maintenance is a very straightforward process. All you need is a soft-bristled toothbrush, some warm water, and unscented anti-bacterial soap. You will want to use a different toothbrush than the one you already use to clean your teeth. With the retainer in hand, wet it with lukewarm water, apply some soap, and use the toothbrush to scrub each crevice lightly.  

Thoroughly rinse it again with warm water and ensure you get rid of all leftover soap residue. Following these steps will keep your appliance in excellent condition and smelling fresh! We do not recommend cleaning with toothpaste because it contains abrasive ingredients, meaning it can scratch or otherwise damage the retainer, diminishing its functionality. 

Once you master this process, we encourage you to demonstrate it to your child so they can gain confidence in cleaning their retainer and soon add this to their morning and night brushing routine.

The Importance of Maintenance

Regular retainer upkeep is essential in the long run as it prevents excessive plaque and bacteria build-up and saves your child from common complications such as bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. The more frequently they can maintain these habits, the better off their long-term dental health will be. Helping them add these routines to their schedule makes a difference and can prevent unnecessary procedures later in life.

Don’t Forget to Attend Follow-Up Appointments

Even after treatment, you can expect to have follow-ups with our dentists to ensure your child’s teeth stay in the correct position and are still in excellent condition. During these appointments, our team has the chance to address any issues that may have arisen since we last saw them and provide any medical advice on the longevity of your treatment.

Per the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s recommendation, having your child come in for regular cleanings and check-ins twice a year will help to keep their teeth healthy and safe. With a retainer, you may need to bring them in more often than that, especially when initially getting their appliance, but our team will inform you of this if it is necessary.

If you have any questions about retainers or how to best care for your child’s teeth, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly front desk staff. They can help you with any lingering concerns and promptly direct your questions to the right team members.

Why Cleaning and Caring for A Retainer Is Important

Help Your Child Maintain A Healthy, Happy Smile!

Dr. Rowland, Dr. Selecman, Dr. Daniel, Dr. Greene, and Dr. Church, our skilled pediatric dentists, specialize in children’s unique dental needs and understand the importance of providing friendly care. When it comes to retainer maintenance and other treatment, you can rely on Children’s Dental Center to keep their teeth safe and healthy. Please contact any of our offices in Midtown, Collierville, or Arlington to schedule your next appointment.