A retainer is a device designed to hold your teeth in position once they have been moved into the right place using braces.
To properly maintain the results your investment deserves it must be worn according to the guidelines set by your orthodontist.
But let’s face it – getting into the habit of wearing a retainer correctly and keeping it safe can be a challenge! Here’s all you need to know about the importance of retainers.
In a nutshell, they are custom-made orthodontic appliances that are designed to hold the teeth in their new positions after orthodontic treatment. If they are not worn as instructed by your orthodontist, the teeth will very rapidly begin to go crooked again.
It is vitally important to understand that it takes time for a mouth to ‘learn’ the new positioning of their teeth once braces are removed. While some minor changes to the bite and tooth alignment post-treatment are normal, wearing a retainer for as long as your orthodontist recommends is the best way to ensure their teeth stay healthy and straight for years to come.
A permanent or fixed retainer is a wire that is glued to the inside of the teeth to help prevent the teeth from shifting over time. They are similar to lingual braces in their appearance.
Removable retainers come in two main types, plates or clear retainers. These need to be taken out for eating, cleaning, and sport. A plate retainer is also commonly known as a wire retainer. It consists of a moulded acrylic base that is custom-fitted to the roof of the mouth. This type of retainer has been around for decades and continues to be a reliable option after braces. Clear retainers are essentially a very thin clear mouthguard. They are made from a clear plastic that is created from a mould of the teeth once braces are removed. You shouldn’t feel any discomfort or pressure from the retainer if worn correctly and consistently.
Some patients are recommended a permanent fixed orthodontic retainer (a thin wire placed behind the front upper and/or lower teeth that is completely invisible), while others are encouraged to wear their removable plastic orthodontic retainer for as long as possible.