Every patient eagerly looks forward to the day they get their braces removed, but the work won’t quite be done at that point. You’ve gone through the treatment to get your new smile, now it’s time to make sure it’s here to stay. To do that, you’ll need to wear a retainer. There are different kinds of retainers you may end up getting depending on your specific case, including permanent and removable retainers.
Why Are Retainers Important?
Once orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign is complete, the teeth will naturally be inclined to move back to their original positions, which is known as regression. Retainers are orthodontic appliances designed to prevent regression. Some patients may be prescribed a retainer that they wear indefinitely, but it is especially important to wear a retainer after braces are first removed.
Also known as bonded retainers, this form of retainer is different from braces. It is applied to the back of the front lower or upper teeth, far out of view. Many patients are surprised at how subtle their permanent retainers are. The thin metal piece is very minimal and hard to notice. Bonded retainers are often given to patients who had significant crowding or spacing issues on their front teeth, which makes them especially vulnerable to regression.
While the obvious disadvantage to this type of retainer is you’ll always have an orthodontic appliance in your mouth, the upside is it won’t be lost or accidentally thrown out. Just be sure to periodically check on it, since many people don’t notice if it has been damaged right away.
As you might have guessed, removable retainers are quite different from permanent retainers. Rather than being fixed to the teeth, removable retainers can be taken out for meals or times when wearing them isn’t necessary. There are two common types of removable retainers: Hawley retainers and clear retainers.
Hawley retainers are a combination of wire and an acrylic mold of the roof of your mouth. The metal wires fit snugly around your teeth while the acrylic attachment fits comfortably into place in your mouth. Most patients have to wear this type of retainer for only part of the day, usually while sleeping.
Clear retainers are made the same way as Invisalign clear aligners. Using a sheet of clear plastic, these retainers are based on a precise mold of your teeth and fit easily into place. You can simply snap them into place when you need to wear them and pop them out when it’s time to take a break.
These types of retainers offer the distinct benefit of being able to be taken out for part or most of the day, meaning you won’t damage it while eating and it’s not in the way of your brushing or flossing. On the other hand, you’ll need to keep track of it and be disciplined enough to wear it so your teeth don’t shift.
Contact Milnor Orthodontics today to learn more about retainers and other important info on orthodontic treatment.