Maintain Your Smile With A Retainer After Braces

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. Once your braces are off, it is necessary that you wear a retainer after braces to keep your smile in place over time and there are different types of retainers for you to choose from.

All those years visiting the clinic, wearing orthodontic appliances, and elastics are now behind you and you have nothing but a beautiful smile ahead. Wearing a retainer 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.

Finding the Right Retainer after Braces

Once your braces are off, how often you use your retainer is going to seriously impact the success of your teeth to stay 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 after taking 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 lab.

When you first start wearing your retainer there may be some discomfort from the pressure and your teeth may feel sore every once in a while. This is due to the fact that they’re holding teeth in place when they try to shift. The more you wear your retainer the more comfortable it gets.

Types of Retainers

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 upper teeth. They also come in the form of a plastic mold, which comfortably clamps onto your teeth when inserted.

This type of retainer should be worn daily, as well as at night, for at least the first three months. One benefit of having a removable retainer is that it is easier for you to clean your teeth.

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 are accidentally throw away. If it’s introduced to intense heat it can also melt or reshape itself. It is not cheap to replace retainers and it could take weeks to receive a new one.

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.

Clean Retainer (Essix Retainer)

This is another popular removable option. 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.

Continue To Wear Your Retainer After Braces

Using a removable retainer is a big commitment to yourself as well as your teeth as it needs to be worn regularly 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 over time, 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