Wearing a retainer is an important part of your orthodontic work. It helps keep your teeth in place after months or even years of wearing braces. But what happens when you go to put your retainer in your mouth, only to find that it doesn’t fit anymore? Should you just put it in your mouth and hope for the best? Let’s look at some of the common reasons your retainers might not fit and what you can do about it.
Your Retainer Doesn’t Fit Because You Haven’t Worn It As Advised
In order to fix teeth alignment, orthodontic braces place fore on the teeth. In order for new alignment to take place, the bone on one side of the tooth softens and disappears, so the tooth can move into a new position. Once in the new position, your body deposits new bone to hold it into place. However, this new bone deposit occurs slowly and can take up to a full year. This is why wearing a retainer for at least 22 hours a day for that first year is so important. The retainer helps to stabilize the teeth until new bone can form.
If your retainer has spent more time in its case than in your mouth during this first year, there is a good chance that your teeth have moved, and your retainer is not going to fit. If this is the case, do NOT attempt to force a retainer to fit. This can damage your teeth and cause further problems with your alignment.
If you haven’t been wearing your retainer as advised and you find it no longer fits, you should schedule an appointment with your orthodontist to evaluate your alignment changes. In some cases, the changes may not be too bad, and they will recommend a new retainer. If the teeth have undergone extensive shifting, you may require braces again.
Damage to your retainer can also adjust how it fits. Now, obvious damage, like your dog using your retainer as a chew toy, is probably obvious. However, subtle damage to your retainer can occur, leaving no noticeable changes.
If your retainer is no longer fitting correctly, it may be time for a replacement retainer. Visit SportingSmiles today to learn about our high-quality, low-cost Essix retainers.
For example, an Essix clear retainer can change shape when it is washed in hot water. The hot water softens the plastic, causing it to relax and lose shape. Hawley type retainers, made with acrylic and wires, can change shape when they are improperly inserted or removed. For example, using the front wire as a handle, can alter the position of the wire and keep it from fitting properly.
You Have Had Dental Work or Changes to Your Bite
Wearing retainers for life is often recommended in order to maintain your corrected smile. Over time, you will drop to only wearing it at night, or only a few days a week. However, over time, your bite will change. As you age, your teeth naturally begin to shift forward and this can affect how your retainer fits. In addition, dental work, such as crowns or lost teeth, can also change how your retainer fits. When this occurs, you will need to see your orthodontist or have a new mold of your teeth and a new retainer made.
What Can You Do When Your Retainer Doesn’t Fit Anymore?
When your retainer doesn’t fit anymore, it is a good idea to see your orthodontist to check for any significant changes. If your teeth alignment has really changed, you may need braces again. If not, you will need a new retainer. It’s important to note that with proper care, most retainers will last for 2 years before you need a replacement.
At SportingSmiles, we can help you get that new retainer for a fraction of the cost your orthodontist will charge. Our retainers are made in the same type of dental lab as your orthodontist uses, the only difference is instead of your dentist making a mold of your teeth, you use our patented self-impression kit to make your own mold. We use that mold to make you the same high-quality retainer. You can even get a second retainer to have as a backup for less cost than one retainer from your orthodontist. For more information, visit Orthodontic Retainers today.