What To Do If Your Child’s Retainer Stops Fitting

Retainers are often used to maintain the results braces can give to a smile, so it can be alarming to realize that your child's retainer no longer fits. This can occur due to going without wearing their retainer for too long, or from damage to the retainer, or another oral health problem. If their retainer won't fit, read on to learn what you need to do in order to maintain the new alignment of their teeth.

Thoroughly Clean Retainer

One possible problem is that their retainer has a buildup of plaque that is changing the way that it fits. This is particularly a problem with the invisible retainers that surround the teeth, rather than the old-fashioned variety that uses a small wire to hold the teeth in place.

If their retainer won't fit, take some time to thoroughly clean the retainer. Start by rinsing and then thoroughly brushing the inside and outside of the retainer with a toothbrush. Then, soak the retainer in denture formula to remove any built-up plaque. Once clean and dry, if it still won't fit, proceed to the following steps.

Have A Dental Examination To Search for Cause & Adjustment

If your child still can't get the retainer to fit, they should visit a pediatric dentist to have their teeth and retainer examined. In some instances, teeth can shift on their own, either due to outside pressure (like biting one's nails) or due to a problem going on under the surface. For example, while rare, some people develop a third set of teeth that can push teeth out of alignment. Your child's dentist can determine if they have an internal problem that's caused the retainer to no longer fit, and if they find one, they will work with you and your child to fix it.

It's also possible that their retainer has simply been damaged in some way that it won't fit. In this instance, the dentist will attempt to repair it or order a new one with the same mold.

New Retainer

If the retainer won't fit due to your child's teeth shifting, a new temporary retainer may be in order. Your orthodontist or dentist will take a new mold of your child's teeth and order one or more retainers in order to gradually shift their teeth back to where they need to be. Once their teeth are back in the appropriate place, they will be able to go back to wearing your original retainer to maintain the new, corrected alignment of their teeth.

If your child has a retainer, it's important for them to wear it as often as directed by their dentist or orthodontist. However, problems can still occur even if their habits are perfect. If your child finds that your retainer doesn't fit after a thorough cleaning, don't delay; visit their dentist right away for assistance.