Why Does My Retainer Hurt?

Why Does My Retainer Hurt?

Bronx, NY – Wearing a retainer is a crucial step in maintaining the results of orthodontic treatment. However, many individuals experience discomfort or pain when wearing their retainers. Dr. Catherine Woo explores the reasons behind why your retainer might be causing you discomfort and what you can do to alleviate the pain.

First off, know you’re not alone. Whether you’re a young adult stepping into the professional world with a smile or someone a bit older who values that confidence boost a great smile brings, discomfort from retainers is a shared hurdle.

Initial Adjustment Period

Dr. Catherine Woo sheds light on this issue. It’s natural for your teeth and mouth to need some time to get accustomed to the retainer during the initial days.

Your teeth have undergone significant changes during orthodontic treatment, and the retainer is designed to ensure they maintain their new alignment. Your mouth needs time to adjust to this change. This period of adjustment can bring about some discomfort or soreness, much like getting acquainted with a new roommate.

Irregular Wear

Discomfort often stems from a retainer not being worn consistently. This study shows that wearing compliance reduces greatly as time goes by. Skipping nights can make the next wear feel like a tiny torture device. The teeth have a little party, shifting slightly, and then the retainer comes back trying to crash it, hence the discomfort. This is a classic case of retainer tightness due to irregular wear, which Dr. Woo also emphasizes. Consistency is the golden rule here.

Changes in Your Bite

Dr. Woo also points out the importance of adjusting your retainer after major dental changes, which can make your retainer feel like a stranger in your mouth. If you have done major dental works or experienced a change in your bite, it is possible for retainers to become uncomfortable. Changes in bite may affect the fit of the retainer and therefore any such changes must be reported to your orthodontist so that they can make necessary adjustments.

Wear and Tear

And let’s not forget the wear and tear factor. Well, over 17 million Invisalign users can attest to this—retainers get out of shape. Whether it’s a clear retainer or the good old wire and plastic, they can warp. Left in a hot car? That might just reshape it more than your orthodontic treatment reshaped your smile.

Just like the favorite pair of sneakers you can’t bear to part with, retainers also get worn out leading to discomfort hence a need to visit an orthodontist for check-up or replacement. Any damage on your retainer or a poor fitting one may result into discomfort. Inspect your retainer regularly for signs of damage and replace when necessary.

Aging and Tooth Movements

Naturally as one ages, teeth might shift; this could cause discomfort by altering the fit of the retainer. Regular check-ups with your orthodontist can help identify any necessary adjustments to accommodate these changes.

What to Do if Your Retainer Hurts?

If your retainer is causing discomfort, remember, you’re not alone. Many face this issue especially during the initial phases of wear. However, persistent or severe pain should never be ignored. It’s beneficial to maintain open communication with your orthodontist, follow their guidelines for wear, and address any concerns promptly. Remember, wearing your retainer is a small price to pay for the long-term benefits of a beautifully aligned smile.

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