Orthodontic Retainer Does Not Fit Anymore

Wearing a retainer is a big part of having orthodontic work done. Now that you’re done with your braces (hooray!) it’s up to you to keep your teeth in place. But what if your retainer doesn’t fit properly anymore? Keep reading for some helpful tips!

The first step after noticing your retainer doesn’t fit is to figure out why. Most times, it is caused by teeth shifting. If you go too long without wearing the retainer, your teeth will start to move back to their pre-orthodontics positions, which can cause the retainer to fit too tightly or not at all. However, if you wear your retainer as directed and it suddenly doesn’t fit, the retainer itself may be warped or damaged. Visit your orthodontist for help in determining what’s wrong.

How to know if your retainer doesn’t fit anymore?

When you first put on your retainer, it may feel snug. This is a normal feeling, as your teeth begin to set into position, the retainer will loosen, and initial discomfort will go away. Some people may find that the retainer doesn’t fit as it should – it might be painfully tight; it may not be settling against teeth properly or does not go on properly at all. If you are struggling to put on your retainer, it’s important that you don’t force it because you could damage both your teeth and your retainer.

Why Doesn’t My Retainer Fit Anymore?

There are two common reasons as to why a retainer no longer fits:

  1. The retainer has gotten distorted due to hot water or dropping it.
  2. You’ve forgotten to wear your retainer long enough for your teeth to shift.

Can retainers be adjusted?

It depends which type of retainer you have.

Clear Retainers

For clear, Invisalign-style retainers, they can sometimes lose their shape. This happens when the retainer is cleaned in hot water, causing the plastic to soften and warp, thus allowing the teeth underneath to move. These retainers cannot be adjusted, meaning a new retainer is needed.

Wired/Hawley Retainers

For retainers made of wires and acrylic, the wires can become deformed if not used or cared for properly. The wires can shift or become misplaced; however, these retainers can be adjusted slightly by your orthodontist when necessary.

How long are retainers supposed to last?

Depending on the type of retainer you have, and how you care for your orthodontic appliance, this will affect how long your retainer will last.

Bonded or Permanent Retainers

A bonded or permanent retainer that is fixed to the inside of your teeth may wear down due to brushing and everyday activities, leading to a weakened bond that holds the retainer to your teeth. Bonded retainers can last anywhere from 3 or more years, some wearers have even been able to keep theirs in place for over 15 years.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers, on the other hand, go through wear and tear quickly as it is made of acrylic and wires and is inserted and removed by the wearer. Wear and tear is more frequent and it is easier to mishandle this type of retainer. Removable retainers can last a few years and up to 10 years.

Book an Appointment with your Orthodontist

At your appointment with your orthodontist, he or she will determine the cause of your ill-fitting retainer and come up with next steps for you. If the retainer is damaged, they will either fix the one you have or make a new one for you. If your teeth have shifted, your doctor will create a new retainer for you based on your current teeth positions that will keep them as straight as possible. However, if your teeth have shifted too much, you may have to get braces put on again.

Wear your retainer as directed by your Orthodontist

In order to keep your smile looking beautiful, remember to always wear your retainer as directed. Just because your friend gets to wear theirs only at night does not mean that will work for you. Follow the orthodontist’s instructions and all the time you spent wearing your braces will be worth it!

If you’re having trouble with your retainer fitting properly, make an appointment with Wonder West Orthodontics in London Ontario. Our professional staff are the perfect mix of friendly and professional and will help you with any orthodontics needs.