I have been using a retainer for years, but my new retainer does not reach my gums. Will it be effective in keeping my teeth straight?

Q. Will a retainer be effective if it fails to reach the gums?

Answered by
Dr. Mayank Khandelwal
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 18, 2023 and last reviewed on: Jul 31, 2023

Hello doctor,

I had braces ten years ago. I have been using a retainer after my treatment. Recently I got a new retainer from a dentist, but it does not reach my gums. Will this still be effective at keeping my teeth straight? Thank you.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Based on your treatment history, your teeth would have settled by now in post-orthodontic changes. After completing treatment, it takes approximately 10 to 12 months for your oral cavity to adjust to new positions and for any changes to come into the best-settled position. All the differences would have happened when you were using your old retainers, and most teeth would be settled. So, new retainers should just maintain the position. It depends on the type of retainer you have been given. A clear aligner retainer should reach sufficiently to the gums and be tight enough to avoid dislodging when doing oral movements. If it is a wire component retainer (mostly Hawley or Begg retainers), most of the work will depend on the wire component; hence, reaching gums is secondary. However, you have to keep a few points in mind while using them. Are they hurting or pinching you anywhere? Are they too tight to put excess force on teeth? Are they loose enough to cause food lodgement beneath your retainers? If you are facing any such issue, kindly contact us with sufficient details and photos (if possible) for further solutions. Thank you.

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