How to Persuade Your Teenager to Wear Their Retainer

Posted on: 25 June 2018


If you've never worn braces yourself, then you probably won't fully understand the liberating feeling your teenager has at the end of the treatment. After months or years of wearing braces, your teen is left with great-looking teeth and can go back to a regular brushing and flossing routine.  As far as your child is concerned, the job is done now; however, your dentist may feel differently.

Typically, once braces are removed, patients are told to wear a removable retainer. They may wear the retainer a lot to start with, tapering off to only wearing it night. While you may not have any problems getting your teen to do this initially, you may start to notice that the retainer ultimately spends more of the night under the bed in its box than in your teen's mouth. How can you convince a reluctant teen to wear retainers overnight?

Explain How Retainers Work

As the months pass, kids may forget what their dentists told them about after-care or may think that they don't need to follow every instruction they were given. After all, their teeth are straight now, so retainers probably can't be that big a deal.

If your child is getting a bit blasé about wearing retainers at night or if you suspect that they aren't bothering to put them in, then you should address the issue. You can't sit by your teenager's bed all night to check that retainers go in and stay in—this is a job that your child must take on. So, now may be the time to have a chat about what retainers do and why they need to be worn.

Explain that teeth won't necessarily stay straight immediately after braces come off. Wearing retainers at night simply finishes the job by giving your mouth time to complete the straightening process. If your child doesn't wear retainers, their teeth may shift back towards their original positions. Chances are your child won't like the sound of that or the thought that they might even have to go through braces again to get back their current perfect smile.

Tip: If you suspect that your teen isn't telling the whole truth about wearing retainers at night, ask your child to put the retainers in in front of you. If your child has problems getting the retainers in easily or if things look a bit uncomfortable, then you may be able to call your teen out. Once your child sees that retainers can be tight if they aren't worn as often as they should be, they may accept the need to wear them regularly.

If you're having problems persuading your child to wear retainers or worry that the retainers no longer fit because they haven't been worn for a while, then call your dentist for advice.