So you finally got your braces off and have been given a retainer to wear. While it’s exciting to have a perfect smile, that retainer sure can make your teeth ache. You find yourself wondering, “ “do retainers hurt after braces” and “how long do retainers hurt”?
The good news is some discomfort is normal, especially in the beginning. The bad news is the pain can be annoying. Don’t worry, there are some things you can do to relieve the soreness and make wearing your retainer more comfortable as your teeth get used to it.
Are retainers supposed to hurt the first day?
Do retainers hurt the first day? In short, some discomfort is normal, but pain shouldn’t last long. The first day you put in your retainer after braces removal, your teeth and gums are still tender.
The retainer puts pressure on your teeth to keep them in the proper position, so you may experience sensitivity for a few hours up to a couple of days. Some tightness, minor aching or throbbing is to be expected.
Why Do Retainers Hurt Your Teeth?
The discomfort often associated with wearing retainers raises valid questions:
“Do retainers hurt”, and are “retainers supposed to hurt this much”? This initial soreness stems from the adjustment period your teeth undergo.
- Inconsistent Wear Schedule: Adhere to the prescribed retainer wearing schedule diligently, transitioning from full-day use to nighttime wear as instructed, to prevent undesirable teeth shifts.
- Mishandling Risks: Handle your retainer with care to avoid distorting wires, as improper insertion or removal can lead to uncomfortable pressure on your teeth.
- Aging Material Concerns: Regularly assess your retainer for signs of wear, as aging materials may result in an improper fit and irritations, necessitating the eventual replacement of the retainer.
- Teeth Alignment Impact: Be aware that changes in teeth alignment can render your retainer ill-fitting; promptly address any fitting issues that arise.
- Damage and Breakage: Keep an eye out for rough edges, displaced metal or plastic, and shape alterations caused by hot water or bent wires, addressing signs of damage promptly to maintain the effectiveness of your retainer.
Can I Stop Wearing My Retainer If It Hurts
Absolutely not! You should continue wearing your retainer as directed by your orthodontist. Stopping treatment prematurely can allow your teeth to shift out of alignment, undoing months or years of progress. Some soreness is normal as your teeth adjust to the pressure of the retainer. However, severe or persistent pain is not normal and you should contact your orthodontist.
When to Be Concerned About Retainer Pain
When your teeth and jaws are still adjusting to the new retainer, discomfort is normal and usually temporary. However, severe or persistent pain could indicate a problem that needs attention from your orthodontist.
Irritation from wearing the retainer
It’s normal for teeth and gums to feel sensitive or sore when wearing a new retainer. Expect this discomfort to naturally subside within a week. If persistent after two weeks, contact your orthodontist.
Teeth shifting or bite problems
Feeling shifts in your teeth or an off-bite after wearing your retainer may signal a misfit. Schedule an appointment promptly with your orthodontist for adjustments or replacement, as delays can complicate correction efforts.
How to relieve tooth pain from a retainer
It’s normal for your teeth and gums to feel sore or tender after wearing a new retainer or if you haven’t worn it for a while. Your teeth have been moving all day in their new alignment and are adjusting to the pressure of the retainer holding them in the proper position.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever (acetaminophen, ibuprofen)
- Take soft diet
- Apply a warm compress.
- Rinse with warm salt water.
- Use a dental wax
- Apply topical analgesics
- Give your teeth time to adjust
Final Verdict: Embrace Temporary Discomfort for Lasting Beauty
No one said wearing a retainer was going to be fun. But the discomfort is temporary and the end result—straight, beautifully aligned teeth—is worth it. You’ve come this far in your orthodontic treatment, don’t slack off now.
Before you know it, wearing your retainer will become second nature and any discomfort will be a distant memory. Stay focused on the big picture and keep your eye on the prize—that perfect smile you’ve invested in. You’ve got this!