After active orthodontic treatment is completed, most patients will need to wear a retainer for a thereafter or a period of time. An orthodontic retainer is a device that is used to keep teeth in their new positions after braces or clear aligner treatment.
Benefits of Retainers
- fixed retainers are attached to the inner side of teeth so it is non-visible, more cosmetic and less intrusive
- more difficult to clean and maintain
removable for better comfort and ease of eating and cleaning
for Hawley retainers, does not cover the chewing surface of the teeth
plastic is delicate and if mishandled can easily break.
removable retainers may not be recommended if there is a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth
less bulky as they are made of translucent plastic
removable retainers are easier to lose or forgetten to be worn
Types of Retainers
The hawley retainer has a metal wire that goes around the front of your teeth and is held by a strong acrylic material that goes against your palate. Most Orthodontics recommend Hawley retainers as it is effective and adjustable that can be used to refine alignment of teeth.
The Essix retainer (Vivera) looks like a clear aligner used to hugs teeth all around the arch. Essix retainers are fairly unnoticeable and will need to be cared and inspected regularly as they can develop cracks and be distorted if exposed to heat.
Permanent retainers are bonded to the back of your teeth and are fixed without the need to remove them daily. Fixed retainers will require proper brusing and flossing. And bonded retainers are effective as it is consistently worn..
Care of Retainers
Care for removable retainers:
- When removable retainers are taken off, rinse them well with warm water. Never use hot water as they can become distored.
- Soak removable retainers in a cleaning solution at least once a day, following package instructions. Do not soak them longer than necessary and never overnight or all day. Rinse well after soaking.
- Occasionally, use a non-abrasive toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush to brush the removable retainers thoroughly.
- Attend routine dental check up every 6 months and bring along your retainers
Care for fixed retainers
- Brush over your retainer in a vertical direction with your toothbrush.
- To clean between teeth, “Superfloss” is recommended
- Attend routine dental check up every 6 months to have teeth cleaned and fixed retainers checked