You've worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!
Finally, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful! ! However, your orthodontic journey isn't quite completed. To keep your smile looking its best, you'll have to wear a retainer to preserve and stabilize your results. Retainers are needed to control or limit potential changes in tooth position, referred to as relapse. They are used after braces treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment. Retainer wear is a lifetime commitment if you want to prevent relapse (movement).
Types of Retainers
Retainers are custom-made and can be removable or fixed.
- Bonded retainers consist of wires bonded behind the bottom and/or top teeth. The upper and lower front teeth are the most common teeth to relapse, so this is the most ideal retainer to prevent your teeth from moving around over time. Patients with bonded retainers typically also wear a clear overlay retainer on their upper teeth at night while they sleep (see below).
- Clear Overlay or Aligner-style retainers look similar to clear aligners and offer a more aesthetic alternative. This clear retainer fits over the entire arch of your teeth, It is produced from an impression or scan of your newly aligned teeth.
- 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. This type of retainer is worn full-time for one year following braces removal, night-time for one year after that and then three nights per week for life.
Pros and Cons
- Removable retainers
- can be taken out for eating and hygiene routines.
- can get lost & broken
- can collect plaque
- can require more frequent replacment if you clench or grind
- Fixed retainers
- don't have to worry about whether it is being worn
- less chance of relapse
- requires a slight bit of extra effort to floss (just in the front)