Should You Continue Wearing Your Retainer if It Hurts?
Oral Health Blog

Should You Continue Wearing Your Retainer if It Hurts?


The journey to a straight and beautiful smile doesn't end when braces come off or orthodontic treatment concludes. It's usually followed by a crucial phase: wearing a retainer. However, many individuals encounter discomfort and wonder, "Should I wear my retainer if it hurts?" In this article, we'll explore the factors behind retainer discomfort and the decisions you can make to ensure your smile stays as it should.

1. Understanding Retainer Discomfort

Discomfort when wearing a retainer is not uncommon. While some individuals may experience minimal or no pain, others might find it challenging to wear their retainers due to various reasons:

2. Initial Adjustments

After orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist provides you with a retainer. Initially, it's crafted to maintain the position of your newly aligned teeth. The retainer may feel tight and exert pressure on your teeth, leading to discomfort. This discomfort can be more noticeable during the first few days.

3. Adaptation Period

The discomfort experienced with retainers often subsides as your mouth adapts. Your teeth and oral tissues need time to adjust to this new addition, and it's not uncommon for some soreness or aches to occur during this period.

4. Retainer Material

The material your retainer is made of can influence discomfort. There are different types of retainers, including wire, plastic, or a combination of both. Plastic retainers, particularly those with a snug fit, may cause more initial discomfort than wire ones.

5. Oral Habits and Teeth Sensitivity

Individual factors like oral habits and tooth sensitivity play a role. If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, for example, your retainer might feel tighter and cause more discomfort.

6. The Importance of Wearing Your Retainer

The discomfort associated with retainers can be a significant concern, but it's crucial to understand that retainers serve a specific purpose. They maintain the alignment of your teeth, preventing them from shifting back to their original positions. If you stop wearing your retainer due to pain, your orthodontic investment might be at risk.

7. How to Manage Retainer Discomfort

There are strategies to manage retainer discomfort effectively:

8. Consult Your Orthodontist

If the pain is severe or persistent, consult your orthodontist. They can examine your retainer, ensure it's fitting correctly, and identify any issues. Sometimes, a simple adjustment can make a significant difference.

9. Gradual Wear

In cases of severe discomfort, your orthodontist might recommend gradual wear. You could start by wearing your retainer for shorter periods and gradually increase the time as you become more accustomed.

10. Pain Relief

Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate discomfort. However, consult with your orthodontist before using any medication to ensure it's safe.

11. Communicate Any Concerns

Open communication with your orthodontist is essential. If you experience discomfort, share your concerns and pain levels so that they can provide guidance and potential solutions.

12. Don't Skip Wear

It's essential not to skip wearing your retainer. Consistent wear is the key to maintaining your beautiful smile. While some discomfort might be part of the process, the long-term benefits of a straight smile make it worthwhile.


So, should you wear your retainer if it hurts? The answer is generally yes. While it's common to experience discomfort initially, the pain should subside as your mouth adapts to this new addition. If you encounter persistent or severe pain, consult your orthodontist for guidance. Remember, the minor discomfort you may feel now is an investment in preserving your straight and aligned smile for years to come.

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The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.