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What to Do if Your Retainer Doesn’t Fit?

female patient trying to wear retainer

A retainer is an orthodontic device used to keep your teeth straight after the tooth alignment process is complete. It ensures that your newly positioned teeth do not shift back to their original positions until your jawbone heals.

If your retainer does not fit properly, the first step is to figure out why. If you have been ignoring to wear your retainers for a couple of weeks or more, it’s possible that your teeth have begun to return to their original position. It may make the retainer feel tighter or you may not be able to wear it at all. On the other hand, if you have been wearing your retainer regularly, and it suddenly stops fitting – then it may be broken or warped.

Usually, retainers worn regularly may need replacement once in two years. So, if your retainer does not fit, you should see your orthodontist to talk about a replacement.

How to Know if Your Retainer Doesn’t Fit Anymore?

Orthodontists fabricate retainers to fit them precisely in your teeth. So, it is supposed to fit snugly against your teeth. Initially, your retainer feels tight but slowly as your mouth adjusts to the retainer, the tightness goes away and it begins to feel comfortable.

If you have a loose retainer, you may have to force it into your mouth – doing so is dangerous and can hurt your teeth. Having to force your retainer in place is an unmistakable sign of a retainer not fitting, being loose, or damaged. Talk to your orthodontist to know why this is happening and how to make your retainer fit again.

Three Reasons Why a Retainer May Stop Fitting Properly

It is best to consult your orthodontist to know the reason why your retainer doesn’t fit you anymore. But just for knowledge, you can also go through the following most common reasons for a retainer to stop fitting your mouth –

    • If you have not worn your retainer for a long time, your teeth may have shifted to a new position. Therefore, your old retainer will not fit your teeth and dental arch. To fix this, talk to your orthodontist about replacing your retainer with a new one – fabricated to the new position of your teeth.


    • If you have been prescribed to use a retainer, it is essential that you use it carefully. Never force it into your mouth, always keep it in the given case at night and clean it when you can. Using your retainer with care will allow the retainer to maintain its shape and fit your mouth with ease.


  • Some foods can damage the inside surface of the retainer wire and cause the metal to change its shape due to wear and tear. Foods like popcorn, pretzels, or any other food that is hard to chew can adversely affect the integrity of the retainer wire.

How to Make Your Retainer Fit Again?

If your retainer feels loose, don’t panic. Your orthodontist can easily figure out the reason behind your retainer not fitting and rectify the issue. Follow the five steps given below to get back on track with your teeth alignment treatment –

    1. Visit Your Orthodontist – To make your retainer fit again, the first step is to make an appointment with an orthodontist. They will find out the reason why your retainer doesn’t fit and how the problem can be solved.


    1. Get a New Retainer – If your orthodontist so advises, you should immediately get a new retainer that fits your mouth with ease. It will stop the changing positions of your teeth and continue your teeth alignment as best possible.


    1. Clarify Your Doubts with the Orthodontist – Show your old retainer to your orthodontist and clarify what went wrong. Talk to them about how to wear, take off, and take care of your new retainer.


    1. Change Retainers Regularly – Your orthodontist will tell you how often you need to change your retainer. Changing your retainer on time helps avoid any damage to the retainer or your teeth. It also ensures that your teeth remain straightened out as they were when you wore braces.


  1. Don’t Worry! – If your retainer doesn’t fit, it should not be a reason for panic or worry. Stressing about it will only make the problem worse. Instead of worrying about it, it is best to visit your orthodontist and get the solution you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Should I Wear My Retainer Even if it Doesn’t Fit?If your retainer is loose or tight, don’t wear it. It is best to avoid wearing the ill-fitting retainer and talking to your Orthodontist as soon as possible.
  2. Should I Try to Make the Retainer Fit at Home?If your retainer does not fit, do not try to solve the problem at home. You may damage the retainer or your teeth, if you try to force the retainer into your mouth. Only a qualified orthodontist can handle the retainer right and make it fit in your mouth.

    There can be many reasons why your retainer stops fitting your mouth. But the problem is easy to solve for any qualified orthodontist. Be careful with the way you use your retainer and take good care of it even when it is not in use. That way, you can ensure that your retainer lasts long and stays in good shape as long as you use it.

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