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Understanding The Common Reasons For Poor Retainer Fit

When you get your braces removed, you'll typically go home with a retainer from your orthodontist. The retainer is important, because it helps to keep the teeth straight when the braces come off. The retainer should fit tightly on your teeth, but over time you may find that it shifts and doesn't fit as well. Here's a look at some of the common reasons for the change in how your retainer fits and what you can do about them.

Basic Settling

When you first receive the retainer, you may notice that it is very snug. Over the first couple of weeks after the braces are removed, your teeth are going to settle a bit, finding their permanent place in your new jaw line. As your teeth settle, your retainer will adjust a bit, kind of like breaking in a pair of shoes. Despite this settling and adjustment, though, the retainer shouldn't end up ill-fitting after this.

Improper Handling

Retainers must be handled properly to keep them in the proper condition. If you put your retainer into water that is too hot, the plastic used to create it may soften and lose its shape. Make sure you only use lukewarm water on your retainer to avoid this risk. If you have a retainer with front wires, you can inadvertently deform it if you fall asleep with it in or you pull it out using the wire instead of removing it the way your orthodontist taught you. If something like this does happen, you'll need to see your orthodontist to have the retainer reshaped.

Incorrect Wear

In order to maintain your retainer and keep it fitting properly, you need to make sure that you wear it correctly and follow your doctor's prescribed instructions. Depending on your particular bite adjustment, you'll receive personalized instructions to allow your teeth to adjust as necessary while protecting them from excessive shifting. If you don't wear it as prescribed, your teeth may move more than they should. When this happens, your retainer may not fit correctly. You may be able to correct it by following the wear instructions carefully every day. This only works if you identify the fit problem right away. Otherwise, you will need to have the retainer replaced.

Talk to an orthodontics specialist today about any problems you might be experiencing with your retainer so that you can correct the issues right away. The sooner you address it, the better your chances will be of preserving your new tooth alignment.