When Can I Wear My Retainer After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

The removal of the wisdom teeth is a common practice for many people, and the experience can be a rather intimidating and uncomfortable one. After the procedure, many are eager to return to their regular routine and habits. One of the questions that you may have after the surgery is when you can start wearing your retainers again.

In general, it takes between 3 to 10 days for the swelling to subside and the wound to heal sufficiently before you can wear your retainer. During this period, it is important that you avoid any activities that could disrupt the healing process, and that includes the wearing of a retainer. The retainer, which is meant to form a tight fit around your teeth and gums, exerts a pressure that can irritate the surgical site and cause pain. If the pressure is applied excessively or for extended period, it could lead to dehiscence, a rupture of the wound. When this happens, it can cause medical complications such as dry socket and an infection.

That said, if your retainer do not extend beyond your second molars, you should be able to wear your retainers within 3 days as they are unlikely to affect the healing of the wound. Always consult your orthodontist or oral surgeron as they are able to provide a personalized advice based on the recovery of your wound as well as your dentition.

How Retainers Work?

Retainers are a form of custom-made orthodontic device commonly used to help maintain the position and alignment of your teeth after the end of a orthodontic treatment.

After the removal of your braces, the teeth have a natural tendency to shift back to its original position due to the forces of the gums, and jaw muscles. The retainer stabilizes the teeth in their desired position by acting as a counteract force in the opposite direction of teeth’s natural movement.

Hawley Retainers | Source: Swapp Orthodontics

There are two types of retainers: removable and fixed. Removable retainers, such as Hawley retainers and clear plastic retainers, use a combination of wires and plastic to apply pressure to the teeth. While the clear retainers cannot be adjusted, the wire of the Hawley retainer can be altered to ensure a proper fit.

Fixed retainers on the other hand, uses a thin wire that is glued to the back of the teeth to keep them in place. They are commonly applied when the orthodontist or dentist believes that the teeth will shift if only a removable retainer is used. Fixed retainers are a great option as they are not visible and do not have to be worn or removed repeatedly. However, the retainers are susceptible to a buildup of plaque as they are glued on the back of the teeth and are hard to clean.

Regardless of the type of retainers you use, they all work to keep the teeth in their desired treatment after an orthodontic treatment.

Is It Fine to Go One Week Without Retainers?

It is generally fine to go 5 to 10 days without your retainers. You will feel some tightness and pain as it has been a while since you wore the retainers. However, the discomfort should go away in under a day as the teeth move back to fit snugly in the retainer. That said, if the retainers do not fit, please do not force the retainers in as you can exert excessive pressure and injure the delicate gum tissue.

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If possible, visit your dentist or orthodontist when trying to fit your retainers in for the first time after your wisdom teeth removal surgery. They are able to assist you in the fitting of the retainers and provide advice on whether it is time to replace it with a new set.

Is It Fine to Go Two Weeks or More Without Retainers?

You should not go for more than 10 days without your retainers. When you go on for an extended period without your retainers on, you may suffer from orthodontic relapse, a case where the teeth have moved back to their original position after the completion of the orthodontic treatment.

To ensure continued success of your orthodontic treatment, you need to wear your retainers regularly to keep the teeth from shifting. This rule applies even after the removal of your wisdom teeth surgery as your teeth can shift quickly in the absence of a retainer.

In most cases, the only solution to orthodontic relapse is to go through another round of orthodontic treatment and get a second set of braces.

Will My Retainer Still Fit After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

The answer is yes, your retainers will still fit even after your wisdom teeth was removed. Most retainers, be it fixed or removable, are custom designed to fit your teeth for a perfect smile. When your wisdom teeth are removed, they do not impact the position or alignment of the teeth. As such your retainers will continue to fit nicely on your teeth.

If you are using a Hawley retainer, you may be required to undergo a quick adjustment to realign the retainer. In any case, it is unlikely that you need to replace your existing retainers with a new one after the removal of your wisdom teeth.