Retainers – Protecting Your Investment
When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention phase of your treatment. Retainers are special custom appliances made by your orthodontist that will help to keep your smile straight and your bite feeling perfect. They are usually made of wires and acrylic or clear plastic that hold your teeth in position after your teeth have been treated by braces or Invisalign. Different types of retainers exist. There are two major kinds of retainers, permanent and removable. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Bonded “Permanent” Retainers
The permanent, or fixed, retainers are discreet wires flatly bonded to the tongue side of the front teeth that cannot be removed by the patient and are usually left in place for many years. They can be a great solution for patients that can be forgetful, had significant crowding or irregularity of the front teeth prior to orthodontic treatment, or patients that cannot wear removable retainers during the day immediately after treatment for whatever reason.
Removable retainers are much more common and can be removed and cleaned by the patient at any time. They make it easier for the patient to brush and clean their teeth. Removable retainers come in two main varieties:
- Hawley retainers – traditional looking, durable acrylic retainer with the metal bar across the front teeth
- Clear retainers similar to Invisalign aligners
Our orthodontists will be happy to discuss the best retainer option for your or your child at your next visit.
Your final orthodontic result depends on your follow through with retainer wear. The retainer is your insurance policy. The longer the retainers are kept as part of your dental health routine, the better chance you will have that your teeth will stay as straight as the day your braces were removed.