Cleaning Dental Retainers & Invisalign clear retainers

These instruction are designed for clear Essix retainers, but can also be used for Invisalign clear retainers.

You want to rinse the retainer in luke-warm water.  Using a soft bristle tooth brush and a non-abrasive tooth paste brush the guard softly. While brushing the guard you want to be careful not to crack the retainer. It works well to cup the retainer in your other hand while cleaning. This type of cleaning should be done regularly with your retainer.

For a deep clean we recommend using Fresh Guard soakfresh-guard-soak-cleaner. It’s made by Efferdent and can be found at most drug stores and large department stores.  Its normally less than 10$ for 24 packets and always seems to be printable coupons online.  After you brush your retainers. You want to pour one of the fresh guard packets in a cup of warm water. Then place your retainers in the solution for about 5 minutes. You will know the cleaning process is over by the Fresh Guard will change from a blue color to clear. When the solution turns clear you want to remove the retainers right away. Don’t leave the retainers in the solution longer than ten minutes. After removing rinse thoroughly and you retainer should be clear and clean.

How not to clean your retainers.

  1. Don’t soak in mouthwash. Mouthwash contains alcohol. The alcohol will dry out the retainer and damage it.
  2. Don’t use diluted bleach water. We have heard people using this method and it’s also not good for the retainers and can permanently give them a bleach taste.

If you have questions about cleaning your retainer or getting replacement retainers please contact SportingSmiles

Why Aren’t My Teeth Whitening?

Here are some factors on why your whitening gel isn’t working.

1. Quality of the Gel: Not all gel is equal. You want to make sure you have quality gel that is purchased from the USA and has a MSDS sheet (material safety data sheet). This shows the ingredients and that it is coming for a reputable manufacture.

2. Storage conditions: Whitening gel is susceptible to heat and direct sunlight. Before you received your whitening gel it might have been exposed to extreme heat while being shipped on a cargo ship, train, or truck. Make sure that you are buying from a reputable seller who knows how the gel got to them from the manufacturer.

3. Teeth Shade: All teeth will whiten, but teeth have a natural color that they will max out at. When you see some celebrities with extremely white teeth they most likely have veneers on top of their natural teeth.

4. Life Span: Some whitening gels only have a shelf life of 6 months. The whitening gel might have been in a warehouse or in storage months before you received the gel. SportingSmiles whitening gel has a 2 year shelf life and is purchased every month directly from the manufacturer.

5. Usage: To maximize effectiveness of whitening gel you want to use a custom made whitening gel with reservoirs.

Home Teeth Whitening
Sporting Smiles Home Teeth Whitening

The reservoirs add a small pocket for more whitening gel to come in contact with the teeth.

If you have any questions on how to whiten your teeth contact SportingSmiles.

What Is The Difference Between Boil-and-Bite And Custom Mouth Guards?

Mouth guards are thin but sturdy coverings that protect your teeth. If you are athletic and participate in contact sports like basketball and hockey, you are probably already familiar with the athletic type of this dental protector. Other mouth guards protect your teeth and dental work against the damage caused by nighttime grinding.

Army Mouthguard
US Army custom Mouthguard

Of course, not all mouth guards are created equal. Stock mouth guards are the types of devices that are pre-formed for the “average” wearer. They frequently mention a gender and age to help the buyer find a guard that most closely fits the makeup of the oral cavity for which it is designed. Unfortunately, these types of guards are habitually very uncomfortable since there really is no average wearer. Every mouth is unique and the location of the teeth varies greatly even between people of the same age, gender and size.

This brings plenty of buyers to the difference between boil-and-bite and custom mouth guards. You have probably seen boil-and-bite mouth protectors at the local sporting good stores. The thermoplastic material gets softened when immersed in hot water. The wearer then quickly removes the mouth guard and inserts it into the mouth. Biting down, the guard now adapts to the surrounding teeth. You need to keep some pressure on this device until the process is complete. Do not exert too much pressure, or you may just bite through the plastic. As the material cools down, it largely maintains the shape of the mouth although some nuances are lost.

By far, the best solution for the mouth guard wearer is the custom fitted product. While you could go to a dentist for a casting and pay a large sum of money in the process, why would you? Sporting Smiles has eliminated the middleman and allows you the same access to a professionally made custom mouth guard at a fraction of the price. We will send you an impression kit that you use to make a cast of your teeth. Instructions are included and the process is really very easy. Send the casting back to us and we will make your customized mouth guard.

We are confident that this guard is going to be the most comfortable you have ever worn. Find out more about this easy and inexpensive process by contacting us.

Sporting Smiles invites you to like us on Facebook, and add us to your circles on Google+!

Essix Retainer Frequently Asked Questions

Retainer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. What’s the difference between Hawley wire retainers and Essix retainers?
A. The Hawley retainers are made from acrylic and use orthodontic wire to maintain the position of the teeth. Essix style retainers are clear and clip on to the teeth to prevent them from shifting. Essix retainers material is similar to the material used with Invisalign.

Q. How do I clean my retainer?
A. After removing the retainers you want to rinse them under water. They can be cleaned using a soft bristle tooth brush with non abrasive tooth paste. For a deep clean we recommend using Fresh Guard.

Q. If my retainer cracks can it be repaired?
A. Yes and no. If you have an acrylic Hawley retainer it can be repaired. If you have a clear Essix retainer it will have to be replaced.

Q. Will retainers straighten my teeth?
A. Retainers will not straighten your teeth. They will prevent them from shifting any further.

Q. I have a permanent fixed retainer can I still get an Essix retainer?
A. Yes, an Essix retainer can still be made if you have a permanent retainer bonded on your teeth. The Impression process is exactly the same. During creation dental lab technicians will block out the area where the wire is bonded.

Q. How do I remove my retainers?
A. You want to use two hands when removing the retainers and don’t want to twist them. Retainers are most likely to be broken while being removed.

Q. My Essix retainers are getting yellow. What can be done?
A. Some of our customers report having good luck removing the yellowing by user Retainer Brite.

Q. What is the cost of a  Essix Retainer?
A. The price of retainers vary depending on dentist and area of the country. We have seen prices from $300 – $650 for upper and lower retainers. We current sell upper and lower for $95 with shipping included.

Q. If my retainer cracks or is lost can I get a replacement?
A. Most dentist do not keep the impressions on file. They will make you go through the whole impression process again and charge standard pricing. With SportingSmiles retainers, we keep your impressions on file for 1 year after the reorder date.

How To Use Whitening Trays

These are the instructions for custom made whitening trays.

Home Teeth Whitening
Sporting Smiles Home Teeth Whitening

This type of tray is made from an exact impression of your teeth and made in a dental lab.





  1. First you want to brush your teeth.
  2. Place a small bead of gel in the front lower tooth compartment of the whitening trays. You want to use about .5ml per tray.
  3. Make sure that the teeth are dry. This is a trick that helps the whitening gel to be more effective.
  4. Place tray on the teeth. If there is any excess whitening gel coming in contact with the gums you want to remove this with your finger or a cloth. At this time the whitening gel will start to bubble. This is normal and some of the bubbling may require spitting to remove.
  5. You should only whiten for about 20 minutes once a day. After about 20 minutes the whitening gel loses its strength and continuing use will do very little.

When whitening your teeth for the first time you can increase by shades extremely quickly. After your teeth get moderately white it takes longer to increase shade levels. Make sure that you have good quality gel that is fresh and hasn’t been exposed to heat or direct sunlight.  Whitening gel can be exposed to heat or sunlight while being shipped from the manufacture to the distributor, and while it’s being stored before being sold. You want to research where you are buying from to make sure you are getting quality gel. To extend the life span of your whitening gel storing in a refrigerator is recommended.

Retainers After Orthodontic Bands

Orthodontic bands like Orthofill, Orthoband, and Ora-band are dental bands that are placed on the teeth to close the spaces between your teeth. These bands are worn at night and will slowly put pressure on the teeth to close the gap. There are different size bands depending on the gap you are trying to close.

After the desired gap is closed, a dental retainer is required to maintain the current position of your teeth.

At SportingSmiles we make custom retainers using our self impression kit.

SportingSmiles Impression Kit
SportingSmiles Impression Kit

From this impression we fabricate Essix retainers. Our retainers are available as either single retainers, or as upper and lower retainers. Just like orthodontic bands, the clear retainers are worn at night as you sleep.

Upper & Lower Dental Retainers
Upper & Lower Dental Retainers

The retainers will not move your teeth. They are just designed to prevent the teeth from moving back to there original location.

Gagging On Teeth Night Guards

Many people find themselves not wearing their night guard because they are bulky or cause them to gag. There are a few things that can be done to make the guard more comfortable.

  1. Have a custom thermo-formed night guard that isn’t thicker than 3mm. From our testing at SportingSmiles we found that most people do not find the 3mm bulky, but some do find the 4mm to be bukly. If you find the 3mm to be to bulky there is also a thin 1mm hard night guard available.
  2. The way the guard is trimmed will also affect the gag factor. You want to make sure the guard is thermo-formed, because this provides the tightest fit. Having a tight fit lets lab techs make the night guards with a lower profile and still have a tight fitting guard.
  3. The length of the guard is also an important factor when dealing with comfort and gagging. If the guard is too long on the rear molars it can provoke gagging. Removing one or two molars can increase the comfort of the night guard.
  4.  Find a dentist and dental lab that is experienced in making night guards. There are many dentist/dental labs that aren’t familiar with the different type of materials and techniques that are now available for night guards. You want to do your research and make sure you are not spending hundreds of dollars on a guard that will end up sitting in a drawer because it is uncomfortable. At SportingSmiles we make thousands of teeth grinding guards every year and know the tricks to make the guards as comfortable as possible.

Contact SportingSmiles if you have more questions about getting the right night guard for your needs.