You've worked hard to gain your beautiful smile; now it's time to retain it!
Finally, you’ve removed your braces, and your smile is straight, beautiful, and metal-free! However, your orthodontic treatment journey isn’t quite completed. To retain that perfect smile, you’ll need to wear a retainer to stabilize and preserve your results.
Retainers are needed to limit or control potential changes in tooth position. They are used after braces treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment while the surrounding bones, gums, and muscles adjust to the new positioning of your teeth.
Your Cary orthodontist will instruct you about the duration of the wear and how to care for your retainer. Using your retainer as directed by your orthodontist is crucial to prevent your treatment’s regression.
Types of Retainers
Retainers can be removable or fixed and are custom-made for each patient.
- Traditional removable retainers usually come with a metal wire that surrounds the frontal teeth and is attached to an acrylic arch that sits on the mouth’s roof. You can adjust the metal wires to complete your orthodontic treatment and continue minor movement of your front teeth as required.
- Aligner-style or Essix retainers offer a more aesthetic alternative to wire retainers and look similar to clear aligners. This orthodontic appliance is made from a mold of your newly aligned teeth and may fit over the entire arch of your teeth or only from canine to canine (clip-on retainer).
- Fixed retainers include wires bonded behind the top and/or bottom teeth. This device is typically required no more than a year after the removal of your wisdom teeth. However, keeping them in place for life is often recommended.
Pros and Cons of Retainers
- Removable retainers can be taken out for eating and hygiene routines.
- Removable retainers can get lost easily, so remember to keep yours in the case whenever you remove it to eat or brush.
- A fixed retainer is great if you don’t want to keep track of it, or if you don’t want to worry about how many hours per day it must be worn.
- Teeth with fixed retainers require a little extra attention to remove tartar while flossing. Patients with fixed retainers often must use floss threaders to pass dental floss through the small spaces between the retainer and the teeth.