You spent months or years wearing braces to straighten your teeth and smile. The purpose of your retainer is to keep those teeth in place. Wearing your orthodontic retainer is not supposed to hurt, however, sometimes a retainer can contribute to pain and discomfort. Determining why your retainer is causing pain helps you and your orthodontist adjust your retainer as needed.
A New Retainer May Hurt at First
When you first get your braces off and receive your retainer, you may notice your retainer feels very tight and snug. This may even cause pain or discomfort. This is normal and typically subsides within the first few days of wear as your teeth settle. During this time, you can take over-the-counter pain medications to help minimize the pain. Within a few days, the pressure and discomfort should subside, and wearing your retainer should be very comfortable.
If, after a week or so, you are still experiencing pain, you should make an appointment with your orthodontist to examine the retainer. There may have been a problem with your initial mold, and they may need to make a replacement retainer.
After your braces come off, your teeth have not fully settled into their new position. It takes time for new bone tissue to develop in order to help hold your teeth in their new position. This is the reason you receive a retainer. The retainer helps to keep your teeth in place while the bone grows, allowing your teeth to settle into their permanent position. Wearing a retainer all the time (except when eating) at this time is essential in order to prevent tooth movement.
If you don’t wear your retainer as advised, it is possible that your teeth will shift. When this happens, your retainer may not fit over your teeth properly. If you can get it to fit, you may notice that it causes pain when you wear it. This is because the teeth are not in their correct position and your retainer is designed to match that position. When teeth shift occurs, a retainer can place pressure on the teeth.
If you haven’t been wearing your retainer as you should and it hurts when you do finally put it in, it may be necessary to visit your orthodontist. They will look at how much your teeth have shifted and if wearing your current retainer is still possible. If the shift is minimal, you may be able to wear your original retainer. However, you may experience some discomfort for a few days while your teeth adjust. In severe cases, you may need a new retainer made, or even have braces again.
Incorrect Care Can Lead to Damage and Pain
Another cause for pain while wearing a retainer is damage to the retainer. This can occur in a variety of different ways. In many cases, changes in clear plastic retainer shape can occur when you wash the retainer in hot water. Hot water causes the material to relax and change shape. When this occurs, your retainer may not fit correctly and can place abnormal pressure on the teeth, resulting in pain. If this occurs, you will likely need a replacement retainer.
With wire retainers, changes in shape can occur when you insert or remove your retainer incorrectly. The wires can bend, changing the shape. This change can also place abnormal pressure on the teeth, resulting in pain.
If you have an older retainer, the material may be breaking down, resulting in rough or sharp areas. These areas can contribute to sores within the mouth that can be irritating and hurt. If you start to experience regular canker sores in your cheeks or gums, you may want to examine your retainer for rough spots. It may be time to replace your retainer.
You don’t have to live with sores and pain when you wear a retainer. Replace your old retainer with a new high-quality Essix retainer. To learn more, visit SportingSmiles today.
Aside from the initial pain from a new retainer, it should not hurt to wear your retainer. If it does, it may be time to visit your orthodontist for an exam or time for a replacement retainer. At SportingSmiles, we offer replacement clear Essix retainers at a fraction of the price your orthodontist charges. With our patented self-impression kit, you make a mold of your teeth and our dental technicians make your new retainer. With SportingSmiles, you can even get a second replacement retainer for less than the cost of one retainer through your dentist. For more information, visit Orthodontic Retainers today.