Kids Dental Retainers

If you are a parent of a child who has ever had to wear a retainer you know they come with a few issues. Getting your child to wear them or remember to wear them can be a challenge. Also trusting your child to take their retainer to sleepovers or out of the home can put them at risk for losing it. But were not here to talk about kids and forgetfulness or we would be here all day. At Surfside Kids Dental we want to give you the basics on retainer wearing from surf to sand!

Basics about Kids dental retainers

What are they?: Retainers are custom-made dental appliances that are made out of metal and plastic. While these all look exactly the same, no two sets of retainers are alike. Each child will have a custom set created to fit the shape of their mouths. 

WHEN AND WHY Kids may need to wear retainers

There are different reasons why children (and adults) are asked to wear retainers. The most common reason is that retainers help control the shifting of the teeth. After braces are removed, he or she may be asked to wear retainers for a prescribed period of time. That time can range from a few months to a year. The retainers ensure that the work the braces has done does not regress. 

Another reason why retainers are prescribed to a child is because he or she has a noticeable gap between two teeth. Sometimes, braces are required to move the teeth into a desired position and close the gap. However, in some circumstances, retainers can do the same job. Here, the patient may be asked to wear retainers for several years.


Retainers are also used to treat people with speech or medical problems. One example of that is a condition known as tongue thrust wherein an individual’s tongue slips through the teeth while speaking. A retainer, known as a crib or tongue cage, trains a person to bring his or her tongue to the roof of the mouth instead of through the teeth.

If you have temporomandibular disorder or TMD, you may be asked to wear retainers. TMD is a disorder that comes as a result of a bite problem or due to bruxism. The retainers prevent the mouth from fully closing and thus help minimize the chances of the teeth grinding, which eventually leads to a reduction of the pain in the jaws or headaches.

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When your dentist asks you to drop by the clinic for a fitting, he will need to take an impression of your teeth using a material called alginate. All you have to do is to sink your teeth into the alginate and you are done. Your new retainers will then be fabricated by lab technicians. When it comes to kids retainers, your child can choose from fun colors and patterns to make the experience special for them.

During the initial period of wearing your new set of retainers, you may feel some pain and soreness. You may also have some difficulty speaking as well as the buildup of more saliva in your mouth. Over time, you will be accustomed to your retainers and everything will go on as usual.

Caring for Retainers

You should make sure that your retainers are clean. Be sure to remove food particles to prevent the buildup of bacteria. Your Pediatric Dentist will recommend the best way to clean your retainers. If you are not wearing your retainers, you need to make sure that they are soaked to prevent drying which can lead to damage. Most importantly, avoid damaging the wires either by bending or by playing with the retainers in your mouth. This is the most common cause of retainer replacement which can become costly. Just as if your child is wearing a new pair of glasses you don’t want to lose or break, talk with your child about the best way to care fr their retainer. 

As always, to schedule a free orthodontic consultation at any one of our five Nor Cal locations, feel free to contact us!

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