How to Take Care of Your Retainer

Imagine this: you’ve just had your braces removed. What do you feel? Excited? Relieved? Carefree? After all, the hardest part of your orthodontic journey is done and you’re on to a new stage of life with gorgeous straight teeth!

While we hate to burst your bubble, the truth is that maintaining your smile is a task that lasts a lifetime. But the good news is that learning to care for your newly aligned smile is easy!  

Along with a new retainer, the team at Guymon Orthodontics will teach you everything you need to know. With a few intentional daily habits, caring for your retainer will become second nature, and will help keep your teeth straight and healthy for years to come. 

What kind of retainer do you have?

Fixed Retainer

A fixed retainer is made of a metal wire that is secured on the interior surface of your teeth. This wire can help keep your newly straightened teeth from shifting, and often has the best outcomes out of every retainer. Not needing reminders to put your retainer back in is definitely a perk, plus the cleaning is straightforward!

Cleaning a fixed retainer is all about maintaining excellent oral care. It’s essential to brush twice daily and floss every day. Caring for your gums means using the same tools used for braces–floss threaders, orthodontic floss, or waterpiks are helpful, just remember to treat the area with care to reduce the chances of damaging the retainer. 

Hawley Retainer

A Hawley retainer is what most people imagine when they think of a traditional retainer. Though not used as frequently as other types these days, it is sometimes still the best option for certain patients. Made out of metal and an acrylic arch, it helps your teeth from shifting when braces or other orthodontia have been removed. 

Keeping this retainer clean will mean gently brushing it daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. You can also soak the retainer in a denture cleaning fluid to freshen it up a bit. It’s very important to keep this retainer away from extreme temperatures to avoid warping the customized shape. 


Essix retainers are one of the most common types and look similar to Invisalign retainers. These retainers are custom-made out of clear plastic from a mold of your teeth that is a perfect fit for your mouth. When cared for properly, these Essix retainers can last many years!

To keep your Essix retainer in great condition, it’s important to brush and floss your teeth before putting it in. When you remove it, it’s best to rinse it with water before saliva dries on the tray.  You should brush the retainer daily using water and a soft-bristled toothbrush, or use mild soap and water for a deeper clean as necessary. 

How to Take Care of Your RetainerGet started on your orthodontic journey

Keeping up with your retainers is only a small price to pay for a stunning smile, but thankfully you don’t have to do it alone. Dr. Guymon and his staff are ready to support you on your own orthodontic journey, with a beautiful smile in store. Make an appointment at their Logan or Hyrum offices today to learn more!