Post-Brace Care: How to Persuade Your Child to Wear Retainers

While braces may have fixed your child's teeth and left them looking perfect, your cosmetic dentistry work is not over once braces are removed. Your orthodontist will have given your child a set of retainers to wear after bracing. If your child has been given removable retainers, you may have a battle on your hands to get your kid to wear them. What's the best way to win this war?

Explain the Consequences of Not Wearing Retainers

After bracing, your child is typically left with straight teeth that look much better than they did before. Some kids will look at their post-braced teeth and think that the job is done and they don't need to wear retainers.

If you have a reluctant retainer wearer, it's important to explain to them exactly what their teeth and the retainers will do after the bracing treatment is done. While braces move your teeth into better positions and help keep them there, your teeth may start to shift out of these positions once they aren't controlled by braces.

The regular use of retainers helps keep your teeth where they should be and, if you don't wear retainers, your teeth may shift back to old positions or move out of place over time. Your child needs to know that this may reduce the positive effects of the original bracing treatment and, in extreme cases, may require having braces again in the future.

Let Them Learn By Experience

If your child understands the concept of moving teeth but still doesn't want to wear their retainers, try letting them not wear retainers for a couple of days. When they then put the retainers back in, they'll likely notice that the retainers feel tight and uncomfortable for a while. This gives your kid direct proof that their teeth will move without retainers and may be enough to convince them to wear their devices.

Find Out Why They Don't Like Retainers

Most kids adapt well to using retainers once they get into the habit. If your child doesn't, try to find out why. For example, if they have to wear retainers during the day for a few months, they may be embarrassed at how the retainers affect their speech. In this case, you can explain that this problem will become less obvious as they get used to wearing the devices and that this is a temporary problem that will go away once they can stop wearing retainers during the day.

If your child only has to wear retainers at night, it's worth checking why they don't want to wear them. If your child says that the retainers are uncomfortable, don't fit well and hurt the inside of their mouth, then ask your orthodontist to check the retainers to make sure they fit correctly.

If you can't convince your child to wear removable retainers regularly and you're worried that their teeth are moving out of place, talk to your orthodontist. Your orthodontist may be able to persuade your child to wear their retainers or may be able to discuss other solutions, such as fixed retainers, that may sort the problem out for you.