You’ve worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!
Finally, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful, straight, and best of all, metal-free! However, your orthodontic journey isn’t quite completed.
To keep your smile looking its best, you’ll have to wear a retainer to preserve and stabilize your results. Retainers are needed to control or limit potential changes in tooth position. They are used after braces treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment while the surrounding gums, bone, and muscle adjust to the new positioning of your teeth.
Types of retainers
Retainers are custom-made and can be removable or fixed.
- Traditional removable retainers typically include a metal wire that surrounds the front teeth and is attached to an acrylic arch that sits in the roof and floor of the mouth. The metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the front teeth as needed.
- Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded behind the bottom and/or top teeth. While the device is usually required no more than a year after wisdom teeth have been extracted, it is often kept in place for life. Fixed retainers may need to be supplemented with night time use of a traditional retainer to protect the teeth from mouth habits like improper tongue posture and bruxism (clenching and grinding of the teeth.)
Pros and cons
- Removable retainers can be taken out for eating and hygiene routines.
- Removable retainers can get lost easily, so remember to keep yours in the case whenever you remove them to eat or brush.
- A fixed retainer is great if you don’t want to keep track of it, or you don’t want to worry about how many hours per day it has to be worn. A fixed retainer alone however, will not protect against mouth habits - sometimes it needs to be supplemented with a traditional retainer.
- Teeth with fixed retainers require a lot of extra attention to remove plaque and tartar. Patients with fixed retainers must visit a dentist often for proper fixed retainer cleanings.