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What are the risks of getting a wire dental retainer?

The only health risk with getting a wire dental retainer is that plaque can form more easily in the mouth and gums can get irritated from the retainer if not kept clean. It’s important to brush your teeth well, twice a day, especially behind your teeth where the wire is attached. Floss daily between the wire and the gums to remove plaque and keep your gums in good health. You can buy a special loop to thread the dental floss through the space under the wire, available in drugstores or pharmacies. Your orthodontist or dentist can probably give you a sample as well.
Dustin S. Burleson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
The most common risks of getting a wire dental retainer are tooth decay and gum disease. If your wire dental retainer is not cleaned and maintained properly, it can collect the plaque and bacteria that cause tooth decay (caries) and gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis).

In order to reduce your risk for these unfavorable side effects of poor oral hygiene in the area of the wire dental retainer, brush after every meal and floss every day. See your dentist for a professional examination and cleaning every 3-6 months, or as recommended by your dental health care provider.

Other less-common risks include shifting teeth or traumatic ulceration of the tongue or gum tissues if the wire dental retainer breaks.  In order to reduce your risk of breakage, avoid chewing hard, sticky foods like ice or taffy. These foods can increase your risk of breaking the wire dental retainer and your teeth, gums or supporting structures could become injured, in addition to shifting of your teeth.

See your dentist regularly to have the wire dental retainer monitored, repaired or adjusted as needed, as long as the appliance is in place.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.