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Why Isn’t My Retainer Fitting Anymore?

Why Isn’t My Retainer Fitting Anymore?

Retaining your straight teeth after braces is essential to years of beautiful smiles. Retainers are devices that enable patients to keep their teeth as straight as possible. Although there is no retainer that can prevent all tooth movement, it does help considerably to keep your smile straight and aligned. Here at Goodman Orthodontics, we help patients to achieve a lasting and beautiful smile in the New York City area and provide them with advice to maintain their smile.

Some movement of the teeth following the removal of braces is not only common but also favorable. This slight movement of the teeth is called “settling”, which occurs when the teeth erupt and drift slightly so they align better than the day the braces were removed. This shift is largely desirable to your back teeth, but not so much for your more noticeable front teeth.

Common Cases

When your retainer no longer fits, it is largely due to two reasons. The first occurs when a patient accidentally distorts the shape. This distortion can arise when a clear plastic retainer, very similar to Invisalign, is cleaned in water that is too hot. These plastic retainers, like Invisalign, are made from thermoplastic that is heated and formed to a patient’s model using high pressure. Washing or soaking them in water that is too hot can cause the plastic to be more susceptible to loosing its shape, therefore allowing the underlying teeth to move. Your local New York City orthodontist recommends that these retainers only be washed or rinsed in lukewarm water. Retainers with acrylic and wires can also be deformed. These deformations are mostly due to being removed incorrectly, such as using the front wire as a handle, and being slept or stepped. Once your retainer has lost its original shape, it should be adjusted or replaced. Visit our offices in Manhattan or Riverdale, to find out what step is necessary for your retainer predicament.


The second and most common cause of retainers not fitting is they are not being worn as much as prescribed by your orthodontist. Each patient has a personalized regimen for maintaining their straight teeth, but if your retainer fit leaving the orthodontist’s office and it no longer does, chances are that you have not worm it enough and your teeth have shifted. If the change is minimal and your retainers still fit but are tight, you can try wearing them full-time to see if they move back into place. If they do not realign within a couple of days, you will need to see your orthodontist as soon as possible. The longer you wait to visit your orthodontist, the more time you allow for your teeth to continue to shift and the more likely you will need braces again.


Contact Goodman Orthodontics

Prevention is the best medicine and noticing that your retainer is tight, or doesn’t fit properly is the first sign of trouble. If any of these issues have arisen for you, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Manhattan, Riverdale and New York City orthodontist. If you are interested in receiving orthodontic treatment from a top specialist in the field, feel free to further browse our website to see our treatment options, like Invisalign and Invisalign Teen and early and adult treatment. We look forward to your visit and giving you something to truly smile about!