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What to Do if Your Retainer No Longer Fits Properly

If your retainer no longer fits properly, call your orthodontist as soon as possible. Your orthodontist may be able to adjust it for you or make a new retainer.

About Orthodontic Retainers

Your orthodontist will provide a retainer after your treatment with traditional braces, or Invisalign has finished. Retainers come in several varieties, but the removable Hawley wire retainer is the most common. This retainer has a piece of plastic that covers part of the palate and wires that hold the teeth in place. Other retainer types include clear plastic varieties.

Orthodontists usually advise that patients wear their retainers at night for a period of months or years after finishing treatment with braces. If you forget to wear your retainer as often as the orthodontist recommends, your teeth may return to their original positions.

Reasons Why Your Retainer Might Not Fit

Not Wearing It Daily

If you have not worn your retainer as prescribed, you may notice some tooth movement that could prevent it from fitting properly. Your teeth likely shifted into new positions without the retainer’s stabilizing influence.

Not Storing Your Retainer Properly

Your orthodontist will provide a case to put your retainer in when you are not wearing it. Ensure that you use this case consistently to prevent the retainer from becoming misshapen.

Eating Food That Damages the Wires

Two salty snacks may damage your retainer, namely pretzels and popcorn. The salt crystals in these foods break down metal wires over time, lowering their strength and integrity. Popcorn fragments can also become stuck in your retainer. It would be best if you avoided these snacks while you have your retainer.

Don’t Try Self-Fixes

Fitting a retainer is a precise science. It would help if you did not try to bend the wires to make your retainer fit again. This practice could weaken the wires and cause breakage, possibly leading to injury.

Proper Retainer Wear

If your retainer no longer fits, you may need further orthodontic treatment to return your teeth to their optimal positions. Otherwise, your orthodontist may be able to create a new retainer.

If you have experienced unusual wear and tear on your retainer, your orthodontist should be able to remake it so it fits your teeth.

The Importance of Retainers

Getting a second retainer or resuming orthodontic care is costly. If your child wore braces, remind them that proper retainer wear will keep their teeth straight and the whole process shorter.

Patients must wear their retainers until the orthodontist says it is okay to stop using them. The length of time people must wear their retainers varies from patient to patient. If your child is impatient to stop, remind them of the time and effort they invested in their smile.

Greater Hartford Orthodontics helps patients in the Newington, CT, area to get back on track with their orthodontic care. Some of their services include retainers, clear braces, metal braces, and more. 

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