Maintain Your Beautiful Smile with a Retainer

Not everyone gets to experience braces, but for those of us who have, one of the best feelings in the world is having them taken off. Having them taken off to reveal your new and improved perfect smile is something which is beyond words, however, a removable retainer will be necessary to keep your smile in place over time and there are different types of retainers for you to choose from.

All those years filled with orthodontic appliances like expanders and elastics are now behind you and you have nothing but a beautiful smile ahead. Retainers will help you keep that new smile straight and play a very important role in your orthodontic treatment. Once your braces come off, your teeth need to settle into your jawbone and soft tissue to be held in place.

There are two common types of retainers: fixed and removable. The type in which you get usually depends on the specific needs required by your teeth as well as the preference of you the patient.

Wearing Your New Retainer

Once your braces are taken off, how you use your retainer is going to seriously impact the success of your teeth staying in their new position. A retainer will go a long way when it comes to helping your teeth and even your jaw keep alignment.

Retainers are usually provided by your orthodontist. They will take molds of your teeth to create a perfect impression. They then send them off to the lab to be transformed into your retainer. This can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks depending on the busyness of the lab.

Retainer Comfort

When first getting used to your retainer there may be some discomfort from the pressure. They may feel sore every once in a while. This is due to the fact that they’re holding your teeth in place when they try to shift.

However the more you wear your retainer the more comfortable it gets. Soon you’ll barely notice it.

Discover the Right Retainer

The two types of retainers that orthodontists most often use are fixed and removable. Depending on your particular situation, either of these appliances could be used correct your problem area.

Read the following information to have a better understanding of these different types of retainers:

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers are also commonly known as “permanent retainers”. This retainer consists of a thin piece of wire which is bonded in place with cement to the back of the first three teeth on the left and right beside the center teeth. Fixed retainers physically cannot hold the back of the teeth since it’s not possible to wrap a wire throughout the entire mouth.

Since this specific type of wire stretches over several teeth it can be difficult to floss properly. A floss threader or a cleaning device similar to one must be used to access spaces between the teeth.

Even though this retainer may require a little more effort to keep clean it provides the best results when keeping your teeth from shifting and moving back into old habits. They will be permanently held 24/7.

There’s also another reason the permanent route is the better choice. As you get older your teeth start to move again. If you have a fixed retainer it will help control this shift and protect your teeth.

Bonded Retainers

Bonded retainers consist of braided wires that are glued to the backside of the lower anterior teeth as well as the top. The wire is used to hold certain teeth into place after the patient’s braces have been taken off. They’re very popular because the patient doesn’t have to worry about forgetting to wear their removable retainer.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers usually consist of a thin wire going across the front of the lower and/or upper front teeth. That wire is held together with a mix of acrylic material and hooks that insert in and around the back teeth to hold it in place. Seeing as it’s removable this type of retainer is easier to not only clean, but your teeth are easier to clean as well.

However this retainer does require daily wear, as well as at night, for the first three months at least.

The biggest disadvantage to having a removable retainer is that you can lose it or even break it. They aren’t typically very big so they’re easy to lose, or even accidentally throw away.

If it’s introduced to intense heat it can also melt or reshape itself. To replace one of these retainers will usually cost a couple hundred dollars seeing as they need to make a new mold and it could take a couple weeks to receive. A lot can happen to your teeth in a couple of weeks so it’s a risk.

Hawley Retainer

Hawley retainers are commonly used and designed from wire, clasps, and are embedded in a thick plastic body which covers the roof of your mouth. This retainer has a wire that sits across the front teeth to hold them in place and prevent them from re-aligning. In addition, they can come in multiple colours and designs, making them more appealing for children and teens.

Clear Retainer (Essix Retainer)

Essix Retainers is another popular removable retainer option that was made for the aftercare of braces. These retainers are made of clear plastic and are vacuum-formed to perfectly fit your teeth. They’re most popular for adults and some teenagers because they are almost completely invisible and feel durable. This retainer is less noticeable than others and custom fit for each patient’s mouth.

Why You Should Wear Your Removable Retainer

Using a removable retainer is a very big commitment to yourself as well as your teeth as it needs to be used for approximately one year. Initially, your orthodontist will want you to wear it 24/7 for at least the first three months. If this does not sound reasonable, the fixed retainer might be a better option for you.

Your retainer is going to make or break your new smile. The purpose of wearing one is to minimize the chances of your teeth shifting back to their original position once your braces come off. If you do not keep up with wearing your retainer, it is likely that your teeth or jaw will slightly shift overtime, reversing the effects your braces had in the first place.

We recommend wearing your retainer on a regular basis to help maintain your beautiful smile. Consult with our orthodontist at Smiles on Yonge to discuss removable retainers after braces to help keep your teeth in place and your beautiful smile aligned.


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Smiles on Yonge Orthodontics
8900 Yonge Street, Unit 1 Richmond Hill Ontario L4C 0L7