Why Are Retainers Important After Braces

Invisalign Treatment

After months or even years of having to wear braces and elastics and going to regular appointments at the dentist, it’s completely understandable that you may want to get rid of them and forget everything about it. But by doing that, you may be losing all the progress you had worked for. Dental retainers are crucial in keeping your new smile intact and preventing any future tooth movement. Here we will explain why they are so important and what types of retainers exist.

Why Would You Need Retainers?

Once the braces have done their jobs and your Salem orthodontist, Dr. McDonald, removes them, you will have a beautiful and healthy smile, but it won’t stay that way unless you use retainers.

Even after the whole orthodontic process is complete, your teeth will naturally try to move to their previous position as they haven’t gotten used to the change yet. To prevent this, you will have to use retainers to keep the rows of teeth in place. The process of “settling” the teeth isn’t quick so expect your orthodontist to recommend its use for a few years.

Although you will have to use retainers for years, the actual amount of time you use them per day will change in a matter of months. As stated in Healthline, your orthodontist may start by giving you instructions to use them all day and night throughout the whole week every week, except for when eating and cleaning.

This kind of usage will last between 4 to 9 months; after that, they may recommend you to wear your retainers a few days a week. After this point, permanent night usage is very common and will probably last a couple of years.

Throughout your lifetime, your teeth will always be in constant usage so some movement is inevitable. Using your retainers every night will help a great deal in preventing this from happening, so indefinite use of them is not unlikely.

What Are the Types of Retainers

As stated previously, most, if not all, patients who finish their braces treatment will need to use retainers. Fortunately, regardless of what orthodontic treatment you had, you can pick any type of retainer you would like; of course, all of them have their pros and cons.

Generally speaking, removable retainers are easier to keep clean and will have the same effect as a permanent retainer as long as you use them as indicated, but the fact that each patient can take them out at will makes it very easy to lose or damage them if not handled correctly. Here we’ll explain a few types of retainers.

Hawley Retainer

Also known as a wire retainer, the Hawley retainer is made from metal wiring and a thin plastic plate that goes on your mouth’s roof. One of the wires runs in front of the top row of teeth, and the others run between teeth attaching themselves to the molars. We mold the plastic plate to either the entire roof of your mouth or the inside of your gum line above your teeth.

Clear Plastic Retainers

Clear plastic retainers are another type of removable retainer. As the name implies, they are completely clear, making them almost invisible to others, and thus don’t have any metal parts. The retainers are molded to fit perfectly on your teeth, preventing any undesired movement. This type of retainer is one of the cheaper options if a change is needed, although it won’t be common as this can last for a few years.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers, or lingual wire as it’s also called by professionals, consist of a single metal wire that, to remain invisible, remains glued to the back of your front teeth on either the upper or lower row. Given that the orthodontist bonds the metal to the teeth, there is no need to take them out for cleaning nor risk of them being damaged during cleaning or lost after mealtimes. One con of a permanent retainer is the added difficulty to its cleaning as they remain located in an uncomfortable and hard-to-reach place.

Regardless of what the name suggests, permanent retainers can be taken out by an orthodontist whenever it is needed.

What Are Invisalign Retainers?

Vivera is the name given to the retainers created by Invisalign. They are also clear retainers, but the main difference is the material used to manufacture them. SmarTrack, which Invisalign created and patented, allows Vivera to be stronger and more durable than other clear retainers.

One common question may be, how do you clean your Invisalign retainer? Or any clear retainer, for that matter. As clear retainers are more delicate than your wired retainers, a soft toothbrush is much better, as well as avoiding toothpaste as it can scratch the retainer. Instead, use a cleaning solution or a mixture of water and soap.

Getting Your Retainers

If you or anyone close have questions about retainers or want to start treatment to better your smile, we would be more than happy to help. Don’t forget you can contact us here and schedule an appointment today.