Most of us are so afraid of this happening that we don’t even want to think about it. But if you wear a retainer for an extended amount of time, there’s a high probability that it will fall in the toilet bowl at some point. It’s not something you can avoid.
If your retainer falls into the bowl, what do you do? Do you just leave it there until you have time to get back to that bathroom and fish it out with the toilet brush? Or is there another way around this unfortunate situation?
For most people, the thought of retrieving a fallen retainer from the toilet is enough to make them feel nauseous. However, if this has happened to you — or could happen again — here are some tips on how to clean a retainer when it falls in the toilet.
Change of Scenario
For many people, the first instinct when finding a retainer in the toilet is to flush it down. This is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Retainers are medical devices — just like a pacifier or a baby bottle — and flushing them down the toilet will clog the pipes. This could result in a sewage backup in your bathroom or even the rest of your house, which is absolutely not worth risking.
A better option is to take the retainer out of the toilet with a slotted spoon. This will allow the water to drain out of the retainer, which means you won’t have to deal with the extra weight of it being submerged in water. There are many different ways that you could get your retainer out of the toilet bowl, but it’s important to remember that you’ll want to do so as carefully as possible. In other words, you don’t want to damage the retainer in any way.
Use a Straw
If you’re in a bit of a rush or you’re having trouble getting the retainer out of the toilet, there are a couple of shortcuts that you could use. If you have a long enough straw in the bathroom, you could try putting it into the toilet bowl and sucking the retainer out.
Keep in mind that this is not going to be a perfect solution. The retainer might break in half when you take it out, and you might suck up some toilet water at the same time. Still, it’s a better solution than trying to fish it out with a slotted spoon.
Soaking in Bleach Solution
If you’ve already tried to take the retainer out of the toilet with a slotted spoon and it didn’t work, you might need to get a little more creative with your cleaning solutions.
You can try making a bleach solution (10% bleach 90% water) and putting the retainer in there for about 5 minutes. This should kill any germs or bacteria that may be growing on your retainer. After the solution has had time to work its magic, you can rinse the retainer off with clean water and let it air dry.
Dry the Retainer Immediately
If you’ve decided to put the retainer in a bleach solution, you need to make sure that you let it dry before wearing it again. Drying it immediately is important because moisture trapped inside of the retainer could lead to an increase in bacteria growth. Even if you think the retainer has been completely sterilized, you’ll want to wait a few hours before putting it back in your mouth.
Retainers are a great tool for correcting oral issues, like gaps between your teeth or an overbite. However, they are definitely not designed to be submerged in water. Retainers require meticulous cleaning and maintenance, as one small infection could lead to a much bigger problem down the road. If your retainer falls in the toilet, try not to freak out. You can absolutely clean it if you follow these tips. And once you’ve cleaned it, put it back in your mouth as soon as possible.