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Congratulations! Your braces are coming off, and you are ready to show the world your new smile. Who can blame you? You’ve waited a long time for this day. But keep in mind that the process is not quite finished. Even after your braces have been removed, it will still be some time before your teeth and the ligaments in your jaw settle in to their new positions.

To help them stay in place during this period,your dentist will give you a retainer. It is vitally important that you follow the dentist’s instructions on when to wear your retainer and for how long. Since every mouth is different, there is no set length of time for wearing one. But, wearing your retainer is important to keep your teeth from drifting out of alignment and reversing the work done by your braces.

When it comes to cleaning your retainer,you should understand the the method of cleaning depends on the type of retainer you have. Fixed retainers; and Hawley retainers and clear plastic retainers should be cleaned differently. Fixed retainers need to be flossed every day, in addition to your regular brushing routine. For Hawley and clear plastic retainers, they should be brushed and rinsed with lukewarm water. A mild dish soap and a soft toothbrush can be used, but toothpaste should be avoided since many brands contain abrasives that can damage your retainer. Talk with your dentist about which soaking solution is best for your retainer.

Keep your retainer case with you in case you need to take your retainer out. You should also get in the habit keeping your case in your pocket, backpack or bag so you that you don’t lose your retainer.

If you are interested in straightening your smile, if it is time for your regular cleaning and exam, or if you have another dental need, Dr. Peggy Lovecchio at Love Family Dentistry in Roanoke, Virginia would love to meet you! Contact our office today at 540-904-2300 to schedule an appointment.