Orthodontic

Retainers

Having orthodontic treatment such as braces or clear aligners will help your achieve a natural, balanced smile, but wearing retainers afterwards is what will help maintain and protect your smile into the future.

Retainers are essential in the maintenance of orthodontic treatment over the long term and are just as crucial as the orthodontic treatment received.
 

What are retainers for?

Retainers are a durable, custom-made orthodontic appliance that is designed to maintain the position of your teeth after your orthodontic treatment. If your retainers are not worn as prescribed by your dentist, the teeth will start shifting back into their previous position.

Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, it will take a while for your mouth to get used to the new position of your teeth. It is normal to experience some minor changes to the alignment of your teeth and bit. However, wearing your retainer for as long as your dentist recommends is the best way of ensuring that your teeth remain straight.
 

Types of retainers

There are two primary types of retainers. These are:

Fixed retainers

Fixed retainers are a thin wire that is worn across the back of the lower or upper front teeth. It is bonded in place with a light-activated adhesive that is similar to the adhesive that brackets for braces are placed with. This type of retainer spans across several teeth, which means that you will typically need to use a floss threader or similar cleaning appliance to clean between your teeth. Although this type of retainer tends to require a little more effort to keep clean, it typically has the best results due to the fact the retainer is bonded in place. The other advantage of a fixed retainer is that unlike removable retainers, they can’t be lost or misplaced.

Removable retainers

Removable retainers usually consist of a wire that spans across the front of the lower or upper arch and is held in place with an acrylic base and hooks that wrap around the back teeth. Due to their removable nature, removable retainers allow you to clean your teeth easily. However, you will need to remember to wear it as instructed by your dentist. Initially, your dentist will most likely want you to wear your retainers all day and all night, only removing them to eat, brush or floss. If no movement is detected after around 3 months, you may only need to wear your retainers at nighttime.

 

Retainer fitment

Once your orthodontic treatment has been completed, your dentist will take a series of impressions, and they will be sent to a local lab for the retainer to be manufactured. Both fixed and removable retainers will need to be made by a lab.

Your dentist will be able to discuss the retainer options that are available to you and their advantages and disadvantages once your orthodontic treatment has been completed.

 

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