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What to do if your retainers feel tight

Retainers feel tight

If your retainers are feeling overly snug, or worse, too tight to wear, you’ve probably not been wearing them enough. Keep reading to find out why your retainers feel tight and what to do about it.

Why do teeth move after braces?

During orthodontic treatment, we can move your teeth to exactly where we want them. Unfortunately, they don’t always want to stay there.

When we straighten teeth the ligaments that connect your teeth to your jaw bone are stretched. Once your brace is removed, these ligaments have a habit of pulling your teeth back to their natural position. This is known as orthodontic relapse.

Preventing orthodontic relapse

Luckily, we can stop orthodontic relapse from happening with the help of retainers. These can be fixed or removable, and they’re designed to hold your teeth in their new position.

You need to wear retainers indefinitely to keep your teeth straight. Those ligaments will always be waiting to undo your hard work, even years down the line.

Fixed retainers consist of a thin wire, which is discreetly attached behind your front teeth. They’re
working 24/7 to prevent orthodontic relapse and you’ll quickly forget they’re there.

Removable retainers resemble clear, thin gumshields (they look a lot like Invisalign aligners). You’ll need to wear them according to your clinician’s instruction – usually at night.

Why do your retainers feel tight?

If you stop wearing your retainers regularly, there’s nothing to prevent those stretched ligaments from pulling your teeth back to their pre-treatment position.

Your removable aligners have been designed to perfectly fit your teeth in their new position, so when you try to squeeze them over teeth that have moved, they’re likely to feel a tad tight. If you leave it long enough they may not fit at all!

We can’t predict how quickly or far your teeth will move without retainers, but from our experience it’s not a risk worth taking. Months or years of orthodontic treatment can be undone in a short space of time.

What should you do about it

If your retainers feel tight, but not painful, keep wearing them full time over the next few days until they start to feel okay. Hopefully, they will gently nudge your teeth back in line.

If your retainers are painful, or you can’t get them to fit over your teeth, don’t force them.
Contact the orthodontist or dentist who provided your treatment. You’ll most likely have two options:

  1. If you’re happy with your teeth in their new position, you can have new retainers made.
  2. If you’re not happy with the position of your teeth, you can choose to wear braces again.

We can’t provide retainers if you didn’t have your orthodontic treatment at Sensu. However, if you’ve decided to have braces again, we’d be delighted to explore your options with you. We offer several braces that have been specially created to straighten relapse cases quickly and discreetly.

Invisalign Express (formally Invisalign i7) is a popular brace that realigns teeth using clear, removable aligners – sometimes within a matter of weeks. And of course, we’ll provide fixed and/or removable retainers and the follow-up care needed to maintain your new smile.

To arrange a free consultation, contact our friendly team today.

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