You have probably arrived at this blog post as you want to know the best practises when it comes to flossing with a retainer.
Flossing is super important in your oral health program. Braces and retainers make it hard to reach hiding nasties like tooth decay and gingivitis. The floss and the technique are key to getting as much protection as possible. Flossing with a permanent retainer is hard and needs concentration. Firstly, let’s look at what a permanent retainer is.
Table of Contents
Can I Floss With a Permanent Retainer?
In short yes you can, but let’s delve a little deeper.
When Should I Floss?
Once a day at the minimum. Flossing with a retainer needs to be a habit. It will remove plaque and prevent any future damage to them or gums. Retainers will trap food particles more often than normal so the methods you use will pay dividends in the future.
A permanent retainer is fitted when the straightening is completed. Some may have removable retainers but those who have undergone a large amount of tooth alteration and jaw movement during treatment will have a permanent retainer fitted.
A metal wire is placed behind your teeth. You cannot see it as it is behind the tooth. It is designed for life and will be held on with dental glue. The ability to floss with this device is affected and needs to be overseen in younger patients.
Is it hard to floss with permanent retainers?
If you use floss threaders, flossing with permanent retainers is simple. Practice and good dexterity may be all it takes. Please don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t physically able to do it. Nevertheless, it will take a while for it to become an easy habit.
How do you use dental floss with a permanent retainer?
You need two tools to ensure oral health while wearing a retainer. Permanent retainers make it too difficult to use normal flossing tools. Every day flossing is a one-handed operation. With the following, you need both hands.
- Flossing String
- Flossing Threader
Flossing string is a reusable dental floss that you can work between. Hold the string at each end and work forward and back to work the trapped food debris out from the gaps.
A flossing threader is a flexible plastic tool. It has an “L” shape curve at one end. Slide the thread through this loop. You may be familiar with a needle and thread, it is much the same operation.
Can You Use a Waterpik with a Permanent Retainer?
Waterpiks are recommended by many dentists to make flossing easier with permanent retainers. With the help of pressured jets of water, food particles are removed from between your teeth and underneath your permanent retainer. The waterpik is a good substitute for flossing, but they are expensive.
Use a mirror so you can see what you’re doing and set the equipment set up. Rinse away bad things first, mouthwash will render the mouth clean and a good place to start.
Place your flossing string through the loop on the floss threader and use a narrow end to maneuver it over top of the retainer. Move back and forth, repeat all the way through the mouth.
Hold each end in either hand. Make back and forth motions to remove food particles from inside that can cause gum disease.
The floss needs removing before moving on to the next tooth. Don’t unthread it over a permanent retainer. Thread through one front tooth then another after.
It is important to keep both the mouth and retainer clean. Brush around and on the retainer. The more you concentrate on the fact that there is metal in your mouth the cleaner it will remain. For removable retainers the task is slightly easier.
Dental visits are very important. A dentist’s expertise will help you prevent oral health issues. An issue with a tooth may mean the permanent retainer will affect how the tooth is dealt with and may even mean the temporary removal of the retainer until the tooth issue has been corrected.
Toffees and candies are a NO-NO with a permanent retainer. They and other hard foods can damage the retainer and therefore the durability of the device. Your teeth are held in place by the retainer, any issue will mean the perfect straight line you paid lots of money for will be affected.
Retention is important for those who have completed orthodontic treatment. Dr. Gluck and his team know how to guide you through the wearing of a permanent retainer and how to care for your mouth once the device is fitted with retainer cleaning and flossing techniques.
Gluck Orthodontics is a trusted name in orthodontic care. Dr. Gluck is a board-certified orthodontic specialist (a distinction only one-quarter of all practicing orthodontists today can claim). He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics.
Here at Gluck Orthodontics, we proudly provide our patients with the very latest in orthodontic care plus a little something extra from the friendly staff that we like to call ‘The Gluck Experience.’
Schedule your initial orthodontic consultation, call us at 615-269-5903. Or visit us online or in person.
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.