Ask Dr. DeLurgio – Orthodontic Retainer Questions

Can I eat with my retainer on?

Eating with your retainer on is not recommended. Leaving your retainer in your mouth while you eat traps food, so you'll have a mess to clean up later.  However, if you do not have your retainer case, you may eat with them in and rinse them off when you are finished.  Putting them in your napkin can increase the likelyhood they end up in the trash.

Can I put my retainer in the dishwasher to clean it?

No - putting your retainer in the dishwasher will destroy your retainer. The heat of the dishwasher will cause the retainer to loose its shape and no longer fit correctly in your mouth.

Can I bleach my retainer to clean it?

No. Your retainer is not designed to be exposed to the harsh chemicals in bleach.

What causes retainers to loose their shape?

Heating your retainer will cause it to loose its shape. Exposing your retainer to boiling water (like inside a dishwasher) or open flame will cause it to loose its shape and fit incorrectly.

Can I boil my retainer to clean it?

Boiling your retainer will cause it to loose its shape and fit incorrectly in your mouth.

How should I wash and clean my retainer?

Brush your retainer with a toothbrush and toothpaste just like you brush your teeth. If needed, you can soak your retainer in a denture cleanser solution like Efferdent everyday to keep it fresh. Be sure to rinse off all the solution before you replace the retainer back into your moutn

How will a Denture Cleanser help clean my retainer?

Although brushing your retainer with a toothbrush is the first thing you should do to clean your retainer, also using a denture cleanser can help. If you brush your retainer but still have stains or other buildup on your retainer, soak it in a denture cleanser like Efferdent. According to the ADA "Using a denture cleanser helps remove stains and odor-causing particles that toothbrush bristles may not reach."