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How to Floss With a Permanent Retainer (Your Questions Answered)

It’s important to floss your teeth and remove any food particles that may have gotten stuck in between. This goes for double when wearing braces. If you don’t, then tooth decay could develop into an issue as well as gum disease which is difficult to treat. In this post, we’ll show you how to floss with a permanent retainer. Let’s begin with what a permanent retainer is.

What is a Permanent Retainer Anyway?

Once orthodontic treatment is complete and you no longer need to see an orthodontist, some people may be fitted with a metal wire called a “permanent retainers, fixed retainers and bonded retainers” It is a lingual wire meaning behind the teeth.

This type of device is designed for life and keeps the teeth aligned. One of the cons of a permanent retainer is that it can cause oral health issues. If you’re not properly tuned into a regular and beneficial regular oral hygiene routine focusing on the new addition of wearing retainers in your mouth you’ll likely suffer dental problems in the future.

Those who have undergone significant alterations or surgeries at an orthodontist will be fitted with permanent retainers. While those with minor corrections may be fine using a removable retainer, not a fixed retainer.


How do you use dental floss with a permanent retainer?

Properly clean teeth first. Don’t forget side or back teeth. Flossing will keep your teeth clean and plaque-free. Do this daily and rigorously. A permanent retainer loves food hiding particles. Bacteria may lurk in between teeth and cause havoc down the line. Gingivitis and cavities are common when the hidden parts of the teeth are not cared for.

Best Devices to Use With Permanent Retainers

Only two devices will be needed for good flossing with a fixed retainer. An adjustment period will be needed to master the skill of flossing with a permanent retainer. Floss regularly.

A Floss Threader

The flossing threader is a plastic device. An “L” shape curve is at one end and will push the floss through gaps in between your teeth and around the retainer wire. Floss as normal when using this device.

Flossing String

Flossing string should be worked slowly between gums for best results. The string is flexible. This means you can get a good cleaning done without the fear of breaking.

Can I use a WaterPick with a permanent retainer?

With a Waterpik, you can deliver a stream of compressed pulsating water between your teeth and between your gums. This is especially useful for children who have difficulty using string floss. Cleaning around your retainer takes only a few seconds. In comparison to floss needles or superflosses, this device would cost you more. WaterPiks usually cost $30 to $70 and are not very mobile. If you are not home, you will find it difficult to pack them. Consistency and regularity are the most important things to do.

What Should I Remember When Flossing With a Fixed Retainer?

Take Care of Hard Foods

Foods such as candy and toffee are damaging to the retainer. Avoid this type of food. If wearing a permanent retainer you have to find another treat less destructive to metal. It will ruin mouth guards and dental cement on retainers will become weakened over time.

Dental Hygiene Routine

Your teeth and retainers need constant upkeep. With a retainer, oral health and a retention device orthodontic appliance are bound together. You’ll need to practice, to begin with. You may miss bits but once you get used to flossing with the right tools, you’ll find a good cleaning comes naturally.

Expert Oversight

A dentist will be able to keep your teeth in top shape and see things you missed. Keep a regular appointment with your local dentist for cleaning and hygienist work. You’ll find preventative measures are good with a permanent retainer as major work will interrupt retention and make the necessary work harder to carry out. Your dentist will be able to provide medical advice too.

How to Floss Then?

A mirror will be a great help. The most important thing is to clean your teeth thoroughly and rinse away debris for a good base to floss from.

  • Place your string through the loop on the threader.
  • Move over top of the retainer.
  • Move the narrow end between teeth.
  • Using both hands work the string back and forth.
  • Repeat with every gap between every tooth.
  • Go in order.
  • You don’t have to unthread it over a permanent retainer. Thread through one front tooth then another.

BONUS FACT: Go slowly and take care with each use. Slow movements will ensure good oral health.



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