Dental Appliance Care


Download: How to care for your Dental Appliance

How to Care For Your
Dental Appliance

(Dentures, partials, retainers, nightguards, sleep apnea devices)
NOTE: If you have any questions, please call your dental office and they can help determine the best option to solve any issue.


  • Dental appliances should NEVER be cleaned with any form of heat.
    • No hot or boiling water, no microwaving, no top rack of the dishwater, etc.
    • Heat may distort the appliance and it will no longer fit correctly.
    • Only use cool or cold water to clean.
    • Some people use diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide, but this can permanently change the color of your appliance and cause delamination.
  • Do not use toothpaste on dental appliances.
    • Toothpaste has grit and will scuff your appliance making it feel rough against your cheeks and tongue.
    • If you don’t like the ‘taste’ of your dental appliance you may use flavored mouthwash as a light rinse before placing the appliance in your mouth.
  • Don’t use your toothbrush to clean the appliance.
    • Purchase a ‘denture brush’ from the drugstore to brush your appliance.
      • This type of brush is meant to standup to repeated wear over the edges of your appliance without bending and is shaped to get into the crevices of dental appliances.
      • It will last much longer than a toothbrush and will not ruin the brush you use on your teeth which is relatively weak.
  • To help clean your appliances use ‘denture cleaning tablets’.
    • These are considered safe for dental materials and will not damage or discolor your appliance.
      • Place your appliance in a glass of water and drop in a cleaning tablet which will bubble and fizz.
      • Follow the directions on the box for length of time in solution.
      • Once it is done soaking then use your denture brush to clean the appliance.
    • It is safe to use every day, but most people find it is only necessary to use these tabs 2-3 times a week and use plain cold water for brushing the appliance in between tablet usage days.


  • The two most common problems with any dental appliance is losing it or throwing it away by mistake, and pet damage from using your appliance as a chew toy!  To try to avoid these problems by following these rules:
    • If the appliance is not in your mouth then it needs to be placed back in its carrying case.
    • Don’t wrap in Kleenex or lay it on a counter or in your pocket.
    • If you do have a pet – dogs and cats have both been known to destroy dental appliances – not only put it in your carrying case, but put the case in a drawer or medicine cabinet they cannot open.
  • Signs of a problem with an appliance may be as follows:
    • Soreness or redness where the appliance touches
      your gums.
    • Pain on removal or placement of appliance.
    • Rough or sharp edges on appliance.
    • Any broken wires or pieces of appliance.
    • If any of these, or other types, of problems occur it is best to call and have the appliance adjusted.  Sometimes the urge to try to ‘tough it out’ only causes unnecessary suffering which a quick adjustment would eliminate.
  • Leaving an appliance out of the mouth for long periods of time is not a good idea as teeth do shift continually throughout the day and over our entire lifetime.
    • Appliances should be worn minimally 4 hours every day, or as directed by your dentist, to keep the teeth in position and not allow too much movement such that the appliance no longer fits.
  • Last, for many reasons a dental appliance can become damaged, but one of the worst things you can do is to try to use home remedies to repair it in order to ‘avoid’ having to visit the dental office.
    • Many products will at first appear to hold a dental appliance together, but then re-break in even worse fashion.
      • Because dental appliances are made out of very special types of chain reaction plastics they will try to react with over the counter repair adhesives, but the reaction doesn’t stop and actually contaminates the material around the break making it a much harder if not impossible repair.
      • Once that type of reaction starts, ALL the contaminated material has to all be removed to affect a repair, which means a large part of an appliance will have to be removed and that may not be possible and still keep the appliance’s integrity.
      • If an appliance breaks call the dental office immediately and resist the urge to ‘just super glue it’ yourself.