You've worked hard for your beautiful smile: keep it that way!
Congratulations, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful and straight. However, your orthodontic journey isn't quite completed. To keep your smile looking its best, you'll have to wear retainers.
Dr Reisner usually recommends retainer wear for 6 months full-time following orthodontic removal and thereafter nightly for ever!!
Retainers are needed to control or limit potential changes in tooth position. They are used after orthodontic treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment while the surrounding gums, bone, and muscle adjust to the new positioning of your teeth.
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 help keep teeth straight.
- Aligner-style retainers, or Essix retainers, look similar to clear aligners and offer a more aesthetic alternative to wire retainers. This clear retainer may fit over the entire arch of your teeth. It is produced from a digital scan of your newly aligned teeth. The "clear" retainers do need to be replaced periodically
- Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded behind the bottom and/or top teeth. While the device is usually required no more than a year after wisdom teeth have been extracted, it is often kept in place forever.
Pros and Cons
- Removable retainers can be taken out for eating and brushing
- Removable retainers can get lost easily, so remember to keep yours in the retainer case whenever you remove them to eat or brush
- A fixed retainer is a great way to keep your front teeth straight, but you still need to wear removable retainers as well
- Teeth with fixed retainers require a little extra attention to remove the plaque. You should routinely use floss with floss-threaders and/or a waterpik
- Fixed retainers do require extra maintenance and can break, therefore it is important to diligently check your fixed retainers for any breakage