Caring for retainers & aligners: at school or work

Orthodontic treatment can sometimes present challenges as you head into the classroom or office. However, it doesn’t have to get in the way of events, activities, friendships, or work! Here are some tips for etiquette and best practices while wearing removable aligners or retainers in a public setting.

Always carry a case and hygiene tools

If you need to remove your appliances discreetly before a big corporate banquet or lunch with your friends, ensure you always have a plastic case with you. Try to find a restroom where you can covertly stow your aligners or retainers—rather than removing them in front of others. Bringing a case ensures you don’t have to put your retainers or aligners directly into your bag or pocket—gross! A case also prevents you from wrapping them in a napkin and accidentally tossing them into the garbage.

Plan ahead

After eating or drinking anything other than water, you’ll need to clean your smile before replacing appliances and heading back to work or the classroom. Carry a toothbrush, mini bottle of toothpaste, and floss to clean your teeth and aligners or retainer. While it may be tempting to skip this step, lingering food particles in your mouth can be a recipe for cavities with your appliances.

If you know that you will be in a situation where you will be eating or drinking, plan ahead. Identify a restroom where you can remove your appliances a few minutes before the event starts and a place where you can practice proper oral hygiene afterward. If you know you can’t perform a complete oral hygiene routine for whatever reason (no public restroom, eating on a bus/public transit, packed itinerary, etc.) bring along a travel disposable toothbrush and a water bottle. Swishing and brushing can help remove plaque and food particles in a pinch. Just be sure to thoroughly clean your appliances and smile when you get home!

Use your judgment

Although we’d like to plan for every potential event, sometimes life brings surprises! If you are faced with a situation that you are unprepared for, use your best judgment. Removing appliances in front of friends or coworkers or forgetting your aligner case is not the end of the world. However, we urge you to build up your healthiest habits and plan whenever possible. Doing so will help you get the best possible result from your treatment and hard work!

Schedule a free orthodontic consultation at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL, today!