When Transparent Retainers Don't Want to Come Loose

Posted on: 22 January 2020

Orthodontics has progressed to the point that many people don't even need metal braces and can instead opt for transparent retainers, regularly replaced with a slightly tighter fit in order to reach the desired degree of straightening. Although these transparent retainers need to be snug in order to achieve their goal, what happens when they're too snug? What do you do when a transparent retainer won't come off?

A Matter of Technique

Your orthodontist will give you full instructions when it comes to your transparent retainers, but you will need to remove them to eat. This means that you will soon be in the habit of removing the device several times each day, so any difficulty you experience during the removal process might just be a matter of your technique instead of an issue with the fit of the retainer.

Getting Leverage

When a transparent retainer doesn't want to come loose, you should attempt to grip it from the back of your mouth (over a rear molar). This can give you the necessary physical leverage to loosen and then remove the entire retainer. Still, even this can be a problem sometimes, at least during the early days of wearing the retainers.

Beware of Fingernails

Be very careful about hooking a fingernail under the edge of the retainer to get a better grip. This might feel like a logical course of action, but it's very easy to use too much force and cause a gum laceration with your fingernail. Instead, put on a pair of rubber gloves for extra traction. Ultra-thin latex surgical-style gloves are best (and can be purchased from any pharmacy), but rubber washing gloves will also get the job done (but please make sure they're clean). Grasp the retainer between your thumb and forefinger and gently tug.

The Right Tool for the Job

If you find yourself needing to use rubber gloves each time you have to remove your transparent retainers, consider obtaining an aligner hook. As the name suggests, this is a hook designed for your aligners as in can hook the edge of the aligner without damaging it (or your gums). With some light pressure, the retainers will simply detach from the underlying teeth.

Don't allow any difficulty in removing your transparent retainers prevent you from wearing them. Remember, they're supposed to be snug, but if you have any concerns that they might be too tight, too soon in the process, then don't hesitate to speak to your orthodontist. For more information, speak with a professional who provides orthodontic services.