Staying Straight: Keep Your Teeth from Straying with Retainers

Teeth Retainers Once you’ve paid for the treatment, there’s no sense in allowing your teeth to go back to the way they were. To keep the new placement of your teeth, follow through with orthodontic retainers.

But why?

Orthodontic retainers are an essential part of the process because retainers ensure your teeth “remember” their place. Teeth are, after all, part of your bone structure. Using orthodontia to reposition teeth is to “convince” your teeth to go against their nature, which takes time to change.

Types of Retainers

The most common type is the Hawley retainer. Made of acrylic and bendable wire, this is molded to fit snugly against the roof of your mouth. Over time, the wire is slowly adjusted and reshaped as necessary to refine the work done using braces. This appliance is quite bare and easy to clean. You may, however, experience some initial discomfort and lisping while getting used to it.

If you prefer an invisible or near-invisible option, there are two.

An Essix retainer is made of clear plastic ad resembles Invisalign braces. This can, however, trap food and liquids against the teeth, making it difficult to clean. It is also known for having a shorter lifespan than a Hawley retainer has. This is important because if you need retainers for an extended period, you may find yourself having to replace your appliance when it wears down. Remember: retainers are generally worn for as long a time as you had braces.

Permanent retainers, on the other hand, use your teeth as an anchor. They may give the sense of wearing braces backwards: the retainer is glued behind your teeth, making it invisible. Maintenance for permanent retainers can be as challenging as wearing braces. You will need a threader to floss between bonded teeth and dental wax to keep it from cutting.

Which is Which?

Discuss your preferences and lifestyle with your orthodontist. Convenience and comfort are key. After all, you need to have the drive to keep wearing your appliance — aside from the prize of having a straight and sparkling smile.