Retainers are a crucial element in your journey to keep that perfect smile. After completing the active orthodontic phase of wearing braces or clear aligners, you will need another stage known as the retention phase to maintain your teeth in their new positions. Here you’ll wear a retainer to solidify the alignment of your new tooth positions preventing relapse to old positions.
This is necessary because the bones, ligaments, and tissues that hold your teeth may not have fully adapted to their new position after wearing braces and may shift back to their old positions if not maintained with a retainer.
However, after you’ve worn your retainer for some time, it may start to feel loose or tight. Let’s look at some of the reasons why that can happen and what you can do.
1. The Shape of Your Retainer is Distorted
After the retainer is fitted, your orthodontist will brief you on the dos and don’ts of maintaining retainers. You are especially warned against cleaning retainers in hot water. This is because plastic retainers are sensitive to hot water and easily distort their shape when put in hot water. When cleaned in hot water, they may expand, thus becoming too loose when worn.
Mishandling your retainer can also easily distort its shape. For example, if you use the front wire as a handle to put the retainer in and take it out, you may cause it to bend and not fit correctly. Stepping on the retainer or accidentally sleeping on it can also cause it to distort and not fit correctly.
2. Failure to Wear Retainer as Directed
Your orthodontist will ask that you wear your retainers for a specific period depending on your orthodontic situation to keep your teeth straight. It could be several hours per day for many years.
However, if you don’t wear the retainer as directed, your teeth may start to shift back to their initial position causing the retainer to feel too tight or too loose. In case that happens and the retainer fits but is too tight, you should keep it on for a while to help the teeth realign to the desired position. However, if the teeth do not realign or the retainer becomes too tight to handle, you can contact us right away to book an appointment and have the retainer checked.
3. The Retainer is Worn Out
Over time, retainers can slowly wear out and need replacing. When this happens, the retainer can no longer hold your teeth in place, and this may be a sign that it is time to get new retainers. Apart from it being loose, you can determine whether the retainer needs replacement by looking out for cracks on the plastic or calcium build-up on the retainer.
The last thing you want is to ruin months or even years of progress because of a worn-out retainer. A worn-out one is not as efficient and may cause your teeth to slowly shift back to the undesired position.
Make sure to get a new retainer when yours wear out. Replacing your retainer shouldn’t get you worried. It is very easy as your favorite orthodontist is only a call away and ready to help you out.
We Can Help
At Schwab Orthodontics, Dr. Catherine has over 25 years of experience dedicated to providing high-quality and innovative orthodontic care. We pride ourselves on treating our patients like family and providing one-on-one treatment in a small comfy setting. Our services include braces, clear aligners treatment, and retainers. Our digital technology enables us to provide quality services that emphasize retention. Contact us today and enjoy our top-notch services.