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Retainers or clear aligners can occasionally feel snug and be difficult to remove. This could be because you haven’t been wearing them regularly or because you just started wearing a new set.
If you’re having a hard time removing your retainer, there are a few steps you can follow. Note that the advice in this article applies to removable retainers. If you have other types of retainers, you’ll have to see your orthodontist for adjustments.
These are the steps you can try to remove tight retainers:
Here are some additional tips to consider when trying to remove a tight retainer:
It’s best to keep calm while trying to get your retainer off. While having a retainer stuck on your teeth can be disconcerting, panicking and using excessive pressure could cause injury or break your retainer.
Staying calm and doing things slowly will maximize your chances of removing the retainer safely and without damage. Feel free to take a short break if you’ve been having trouble.
A clear aligner removal tool, or pull tool, is a small plastic tool with a hook designed to grip your retainer. This can help you remove your retainers or clear aligners in a safe and sanitary way.
You can find these tools for purchase online. Your orthodontist may also be able to provide you with one.
Before drying your retainer for removal, you may want to try swishing a bit of warm water. This can help soften and loosen your retainer. Ensure the water is warm but not hot, as excessive heat could warp your retainer and/ or burn your mouth.
If you’ve tried everything and still can’t get your retainer off, it’s time to call your dentist or orthodontist. They can remove it safely and determine whether or not you need a new one.
Retainers and aligners generally become tight when they aren’t worn consistently. If you stop wearing your retainer for a long period of time (or try to wear an old one), it may feel too tight and be hard to remove. This is because your teeth aren’t maintaining their new positions.
Cleaning your retainer with excessively hot water can also make it too tight. Depending on the material of your retainer, the heat may warp it, changing how it fits.
However, it’s normal for a brand-new retainer or set of clear aligners to feel snug the first few times you wear them. As you continue using them, they should begin to fit more comfortably.
It’s possible for overly tight retainers to damage your teeth and gums. There’s also a risk of damage to the retainer if you aren’t careful when removing it.
A new retainer or aligner being a bit tight initially isn’t necessarily a sign that anything is wrong. But it’s best to call your dentist if your retainer is painfully tight or remains tight even after several days (see below).
You should call your dentist or orthodontist if your retainer causes significant pain or if you’ve been wearing it properly and still regularly have trouble removing it.
It’s best to see the orthodontist who originally provided you with braces or aligners, but if they aren’t available, another dentist can still help.
Your orthodontist may be able to adjust the fit of your retainer depending on the type. Alternatively, they may provide you with a new one with a better fit.
To keep your retainers fitting properly, it’s best to wear them consistently, as recommended by your dentist or orthodontist. When you first get a retainer after orthodontic treatment, you’re expected to wear it for most of the day. This keeps your teeth straight and helps them maintain their new positions.
Over the following months, you may be able to gradually reduce your retainer wear time without affecting the results of your orthodontic treatment. Talk to your orthodontist about the optimal amount of time to wear your retainer every day.
Proper cleaning and storage are also important for ensuring your retainer stays effective and continues to fit well.
Here are some tips you can follow:
Talk to your orthodontist about the best method since different retainers are made with different materials. When you aren’t wearing your retainer, you should dry it and store it in a safe, cool place that’s easy to access.
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