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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 349-356

Physical effects of cleaning agents on orthodontic thermoplastic retainer polymer: A narrative review

1 Centre of Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Studies, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Selangor, Malaysia; Department of Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2 Centre of Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Studies, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Selangor, Malaysia
3 Center of Preclinical Science Studies, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Selangor, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saraswathy D Sinniah
Centre of Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Jalan Hospital, 47000 Sungai Buloh, Selangor
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JIOH.JIOH_357_21

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Aim: Orthodontic thermoplastic retainers are fabricated from polymers such as polyurethane, copolyester, polypropylene, and modified polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PET-G). This review outlines the cleaning methods employed by clinicians and patients and discusses the evidence related to the effect on the physical properties, including translucency, surface roughness, flexibility, and color of the thermoplastic polymer material. Materials and Methods: An electronic search through Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar, and PubMed was performed, seeking original studies published between January 2010 and July 2021 on cleaning agents’ effect on thermoplastic retainers’ physical properties. There were only six in-vitro studies found and they investigated 14 cleaning agents on the 4 most used polymer materials. There were no clinical studies carried out in this area of research. Results: PET-G was the polymer least impacted by cleaners. Its structural integrity was not altered much by Invisalign Cleaning Crystals, Retainer Brite, Cetron Powder, Corega tablets, or brushing with toothpaste. Polyurethane and copolyester retainer polymer experienced the least notable changes when cleaned with Invisalign crystals or Retainer Brite. Dawn dish soap was the only cleaning agent that caused little changes in the polypropylene polymer. Generally, it may be best to avoid cleaning retainers made of polyurethane, polypropylene, and copolyester with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Conclusion: This narrative review has summarized the commonly used cleaning agents’ effects on the physical properties of thermoplastic polymer. Further trials are needed to offer the best retainer cleaning agent with least adverse effects on the physical properties of the retainer polymer.

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