My retainer hurts my gums, what can I do? What are the different types of retainers? Why does it sometimes hurt? How to clean it? How long should I wear a dental retainer? And finally, should I wear it even if I have a dental problem?
I. What’s a Retainer?
Aligners or other retainers are used after the removal of braces to allow the teeth to stay in place. An orthodontist may also place a retainer to correct a spacing problem and misaligned teeth.
When the braces or bands are removed, wearing a retainer for about 9 months will prevent the teeth from returning to their pre-treatment position.
Retainers are often made of plastic and sometimes are fitted to the teeth with metal wires.
II. Types of Retainers
1. Fixed Retainers
Fixed retainers are those that cannot be removed by the patient. They are appliances that are literally glued to the teeth and help align them over time.
Orthodontic braces are of this type, with brackets connecting each tooth to the archwire. Fixed retainers can be placed inside or on the surface of the teeth.
2. Removable Retainers
Removable retainers are not worn constantly. They can be removed during meals, for example, or to perform certain activities.
They can be used to correct dental malposition or even oral dysfunctions. There are different types of removable aligners, but they all have the advantage of being easier to maintain than fixed retainers.
III. What Happens if I Don’t Wear a Retainer after Braces?
The aligner or retainer keeps the alignment that your braces have given you.
After the removal of your braces or your mouthpiece, there is a risk that your teeth will return to their misalignment before the treatment.
This is called recurrence, which is the reappearance of the original dental malocclusion after active orthodontic treatment.
IV. Why does My Retainer Hurt my Gums when I put It in?
It is possible that some parts of your mouth are irritated by wearing your retainer. Your cheeks, gums, and even the roof of your mouth and tongue may be sore.
If your retainers have sharp edges, these may be the cause of the irritation.
V. My Retainer Hurts my Gums, what to Do?
1. Wear Them Well
It can happen that the pain of the retainer is related to the way it is worn. Normally, after a while, you should get used to your braces.
If you are still in pain weeks later, then it may be important to visit your orthodontist.
2. Salt Water Rinse
Mouthwash can often help ease the pain of braces or other dental appliances. You can make one with salt water by putting a spoonful of salt in a glass of water.
Rinse your mouth with it at least twice a day.
3. Put Cold Packs
To ease the pain caused by retainers, you can use cold. Putting ice packs against your cheek, for example, on the area that is causing you pain can bring you relief.
4. Eat Mostly Soft, Cold Foods
When your retainers cause you pain, your mouth is sensitive. To ease your pain and not irritate yourself further, change your diet momentarily.
Choose soft, cold foods that will relieve your pain and not put pressure on your jaw.
5. Reduce Pain with Dental Wax
Metal braces and other retainers are likely to have tips that rub against the gums. This can cause severe pain and injury.
Apply dental wax to the braces, especially the tips, to prevent them from hurting you.
6. Pain Killer
Don’t hesitate, in case you are suffering from wearing your retainer, to take paracetamol to soothe the pain.
Over-the-counter painkillers are effective and can be obtained without a prescription from a pharmacy.
Just don’t overuse them!
VI. Other Questions Concerning the Retainer that Hurts the Gums
1. Why Put On an Aligner (Retainer)?
After your active orthodontic treatment, whether it is braces or retainers, your teeth will be better positioned.
But to maintain this alignment over time, your orthodontist will ask you to wear a retainer.
2. How to Clean Retainers?
Every time you remove your retainers for your own hygiene, take the opportunity to clean them. This is important.
You can use products that are sold specifically for cleaning retainers.
Follow your orthodontist’s advice on this, as some products may distort your aligner.
3. How Long Should I Wear My Retainer a Day?
The length of time you wear your retainer will depend on how long you wear it. Only your orthodontist can decide how long you should wear it.
But generally, it takes about a year of wear, often up to 3 years, before you can go without a dental aligner.
4. How Long Does a Retainer Hurt for?
Most retainers require a period of adjustment before they are comfortable.
Usually, it takes about 1 month before the retainer is no longer painful.
Even though you may experience some temporary pain from time to time. These are not serious pains and usually go away.
5. How to Floss Under a Retainer?
To floss with a retainer, you need to use waxed floss. First, run it under the main floss of the retainer, then run it between your teeth. Do this gently, moving it up and down.
If you wear a removable aligner, then you can floss normally when you remove your retainer.
6. Should I Wear My Retainer if My Gums Are Bleeding?
Bleeding gums are not to be taken lightly, as they can be a sign of gingivitis or periodontitis.
If you have bleeding gums, consult your orthodontist before wearing your retainer. The fixed aligner can make dental hygiene difficult.
7. Should I Wear My Retainer if My Gums Are Swollen?
Swollen gums should not be ignored, whether you wear a retainer or not. If you have swollen gums, it is possible that they are preventing the retainer from doing its job and affecting the alignment of your teeth.
Do not hesitate to consult your orthodontist if the swelling of your gums is persistent.
8. Can Tight Retainer Damage Teeth?
Braces can negatively affect your teeth because food residue can get caught in the wires.
The feeling of having a tight retainer is often personal. But if you are in pain more than a month after your retainer is placed, then return to your orthodontist.
9. Are Retainers Supposed to Hurt the First Day?
It is perfectly normal to feel pain while wearing your retainer on the first day.
This discomfort may even last for several days or even weeks. This is the time it takes for your mouth to get used to the presence of the foreign body.
10. Why Do My Gums Turn White when I Put My Retainer in?
White gums are often a sign of a health problem. Several things can explain having white gums.
White thrush is a fungus that can have this effect, as well as anemia. If your gums turn white when you wear your retainer, talk to your orthodontist.
11. Can Invisalign Damage Gums?
There are not really signs that Invisalign can damage gums. This invisible retainer is very effective in case of dental malocclusion.
There are of course disadvantages and risks to wearing Invisalign. The appliance must be removed before cleaning your teeth, and the fact that it is removable requires discipline.
12. Will My Teeth Get Crooked if I Don’t Wear my Retainer?
Retainers help maintain the dental alignment gained by wearing braces.
While missing a day or two is not particularly serious, if you stop wearing your retainer for too long you may find that your teeth revert to their pre-treatment position.
13. How Many Hours Should I Wear My Retainer?
The removable retainer should be worn as long as possible, on average 22 hours per day. In general, it should only be taken off to clean your teeth and mouth and also when you eat so that it is not damaged by food.
If you want to get your smile back and have your teeth aligned, wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist.
14. How Can I Loosen My Retainer Myself?
The wearing of a dental retainer is decided by your orthodontist. The retainer is normally adapted to your teeth and to the problem you want to solve.
If you feel too much discomfort over a long period of time, return to your orthodontist. If the appliance needs to be loosened, he will do so.
It is strictly inadvisable to loosen the retainer yourself, as this can damage your teeth!