You've worked hard for your beautiful smile, don't stop now!
Finally, your braces are off and you have a beautiful, healthy smile. However, your orthodontic journey isn't over. To keep your smile looking its best, you'll need to wear a retainer to preserve and stabilize your results. Each patient is different, so please follow your individual instructions. In general, retainers are to be worn every night. Your teeth are the most susceptible to movement the first two years after treatment, but will always want to move-so wear those retainers!
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 of the mouth. The metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the front teeth as needed.
- Essix retainers are clear retainers that are made from a mold of your newly aligned teeth. They look similar to clear aligners and offer a more aesthetic alternative to wire retainers.
- Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded behind the bottom 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.
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 it to eat or brush.
- A fixed retainer is great if you don't want to keep track of it, or if you don't want to worry about how many hours per day it must be worn.
- Teeth with fixed retainers require a little extra attention to remove tartar while flossing. Patients with fixed retainers often must use floss threaders to pass dental floss through the small spaces between the retainer and the teeth.