Should Transparent Retainers Ever Feel Uncomfortable?

Dentist Blog

Whether you have traditional metal braces or a transparent retainer system such as ClearCorrect or Invisalign braces, the basic principle is the same. Your orthodontic device applies light, strategic pressure to your teeth, which is periodically adjusted (tightened) throughout your treatment, slowly readjusting your teeth until the predetermined ideal position has been reached. The thought of your teeth being forced into a new position might not sound all that agreeable, but remember that this is how an orthodontic treatment works, and that the process is a slow and steady one. Is the process an uncomfortable one?

The Novelty

The initial application of pressure courtesy of your transparent retainers can result in some mild discomfort. However, this should only ever be mild, and if anything it's more the novelty of wearing the device for the first time, or wearing it at a new size when the time comes to change the retainer for the next in the series. Should you be concerned if you experience any discomfort?

Light Pressure

The light pressure of the retainer can be felt across your jaw, as well as in your temporomandibular joint. This light pressure can make it feel as though your jaw has been strained, which can of course be mildly uncomfortable. This is not the same as actually being painful, and your transparent retainers should not hurt. It's entirely optional and is unlikely to be necessary, but you can treat any discomfort with an over-the-counter painkiller. Aspirin or ibuprofen will be perfectly sufficient. 

Localised Irritation

There is also the possibility that your transparent retainer can create some friction as it rubs against your gums. This will feel completely different to any sensation created by the light pressure of the retainer, and will be more of a localised irritation as the retainer presses against your gums. In the short term, you can purchase some dental wax and apply a small amount to the edge of the retainer, which will create a protective barrier between the retainer and your gums. If the problem persists, talk to your dentist or orthodontist. The size of the retainer might be an issue, but the problematic edge can perhaps be filed.

If your discomfort doesn't quickly dissipate, or if it should become worse, please consult your dentist or orthodontist. Your treatment plan might need to be readdressed, with the schedule for exchanging each retainer for the next in the series being drawn out in order to keep the pressure to an absolute minimum.


8 October 2019

Unraveling Dental Myths about Children: A Blog for Parents

When I had my first child, I was a nervous wreck. Every book I read gave different advice, and I just wanted to be right! By the time I had my third child, some of the stress had abated. I now realised, there were tons of different perspectives on everything related to raising children including dentistry. To help parents, I have created this blog dedicated to unraveling dental myths about children. I am including posts that weigh both sides of issues such as thumb sucking, dental caries, breastfeeding, flossing and any other topic I can think of. I hope you find the information you need to unravel dental myths, but most importantly, I hope you find some peace of mind. With kids and dentistry, there can be more than one right answer, and I want you to be able to relax and go with the answer that's right for you.