Successful treatment depends on how you care for your removable dental appliances. Learn how to do it.
Advisors: Juan Carlos Cuartas, dentist
Melissa Vásquez Posada, dentist
It is all too common to hear stories of patients losing their corrective dental appliances by wrapping them in a napkin or forgetting them somewhere. It is also common for the appliances to be damaged as a result of poor hygiene or misuse. All of this results in unforeseen expenses and in repeated visits to the dentist. Taking poor care of the appliances can ruin an oral health procedure. Therefore, it is important to know how to care for them properly.
Dentist Melissa Vásquez Posada advises to consult firsthand with the professional who is treating your case on how to take care of the removable appliances. However, she advises that orthodontic appliances or retainers be washed with cold water and with a different toothbrush than the one you use to brush your teeth. You should not use toothpaste or mouthwash with alcohol, and you should not use hot water as this could alter its shape.
Taking poor care of retainers or whitening trays – which are very common today – can wear your teeth down and make having a successful treatment difficult. In other cases, the pieces can move, which will then affect your bite and jaw health. “In the case of implants, every time you visit the dentist or the hygienist, you must warn them that you have an implant because its care and cleaning are different procedures and it requires special treatment,” warns Vásquez Posada.
Dentist Juan Carlos Cuartas, professor of Oral Rehabilitation at CES University, explains that the implant is basically a titanium screw that, as its name indicates, is implanted in the patient’s bone and then has a crown attached to it, which is the enameled and visible part of the tooth.
“Implants have a very high success rate. One of the most common causes of failure is swelling as a result of inadequate hygiene. It is also essential to control systemic diseases, like diabetes, that can have effects on the implants. Some medications, such as those used for osteoporosis (alendronates), have contraindications to this procedure.”
The specialist adds that the same precautions should be taken as with a conventional tooth, brushing and proper use of dental floss. “Because it is an artificial element, it requires more consultations and check-ups with the dentist. The same happens with removable protheses, which must be cleaned well and stored in the indicated containers. It is important to have regular check-ups and controls with the treating dentist.”
On the other hand, orthodontic appliances must be cared for by “not eating hard, sticky food, and avoiding anything that causes them to detach from the teeth. And of course, you must have stricter hygiene practices using the specialized implements,” states Vásquez Posada.
Whether it be retainers, braces, trays, or implants, the basis for any successful dental procedure is good hygiene, professional check-ups, and following the indications given for each case.
Retainers or trays: clean with a different toothbrush than the one you use for your teeth, with cold water. Remember to store them in their cases.
Braces: you can clean them properly with special dental floss, and also with special attachments for braces.
Dental implants: use dental floss and brush your teeth, just like natural teeth.