Why Doesn't my Vacuum-Formed Retainer Cover my Molars?

This is a follow up to another question that I asked a couple of days ago. I have noticed that only my back molar teeth are touching and none of the other teeth in my mouth actually meet. This has occurred after about one year of wearing what I believe is a vacuum formed retainer that does not cover my back molars. I completed the Invisalign treatment about a year ago and my teeth looked perfect after. I am wondering why my orthodontist would give me a retainer that didn't cover all my teeth?

Doctor Answers 7

Vacuum Formed Retainer That Does NOT Cover All the Teeth

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There is a major risk wearing a vacuum formed retainer that does not cover the biting surfaces of all of your teeth. The most significant risk is having the teeth hyper erupt which is exactly what sounds like happened to yours. You need to immediately return to the doctor who treated your case and express your concerns. Good luck!

There may be a reason

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It could be that when you finished treatment the back molars were not touching. In that case your Orthodontist may have left out the molars so they could super erupt in to place.

Now, it looks as though that situation is reversed. You are now hitting the molars before the rest of the teeth. There are more than one way to remedy the situation. Please check with your Orthodontist. After the problem is handled  make sure your vacuum formed retainer covers all the teeth.

Gilbert H. Snow, DDS
Encino Orthodontist

Full coverage retainers

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The reason Invisalign covers all of the teeth rather than just the crooked front ones is that molar extrusion can occur.  You really should go back to the orthodontist and have him/her make you a full coverage set or a type of retainer that does not cover any teeth at all.  Hopefully things will settle back down.

Robert Waxler, DMD, MS
Saint Louis Orthodontist

Vacuum formed retainers usually include all teeth

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Teeth naturally erupt until they come in to biting contact with opposing teeth. So if an overlay retainer does not cover allthe teeth, it is likely the teeth not included will move more thn those that are covered. Unless there are very unusual circumstances, retainers are generally designed to prevent this from taking place. it sounds like a return vist to your orthodontist or dentist is in order so that the issue can be resolved!

R. William McNeill, DDS, MS
Mercer Island Orthodontist

Vaccu-formed retainer should almost always cover molars...

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If the retainer does not cover all molars when you wear the retainers, the teeth that are not covered can not touch.  So their natural reaction is to erupt until they touch.  This can be a gradual process over weeks or months. If you clench you teeth at night time, this can be quickly accelerated.  And recovering from it can be tough.  I would definitely talk to your treating doctor and see what can be done.

Doug Depew, DMD
Atlanta Orthodontist

Bite changes after retainer wear

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Any time we move teeth with orthodontics we need to be sure to hold them in the new position with retainers.  The specifics of each case are often unique and complex, and it sounds like you have a particular situation that should be reviewed by your orthodontist.  I suggest taking your questions to him or her and I'm sure you will be able to find an answer.

Brian Povolny, DDS, PhD
Seattle Orthodontist

RETAINER question

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Hi. . I would recommend that you go back to your orthodontist for a retainer check and voice your concerns and questions. Having not seen the start of your case, nor known the treatment plan, nor seen the finish of the case, I do not want to speculate as to why your orthodontist designed the retainer that way.

Gabriela Hricko, DDS
New York Orthodontist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.