Do I need retainers after my braces?

Do I need retainers after my braces?

Braces or clear aligners move the teeth into the perfect position so that the teeth work well and look beautiful. However, after the active movement of the teeth is finished, it’s time for the braces or clear aligners come off. This is when retainers come in. Retainers are very important as they keep the teeth in their new positions. There are a few different types of retainers:

Hawley Retainers:

A Hawley retainer is a removable retainer. It is made of wires and acrylic, similar to an orthodontic plate. After some types of movements, the teeth may need to settle into their final place. This retainer allows for some minor adjustments after the braces or clear aligners are finished.

Clear Plastic Retainers:

This is also a removable retainer. This retainer is made from pressure and a vacuum and sometimes is called a pressure-formed retainer or vacuum formed retainer. It is made from a clear plastic that fits snugly over all your teeth. This keeps the teeth from moving from their final position.

Both a Hawley retainer and a clear plastic retainer are removable and hence it is very important and you take responsibility and wear the retainers as directed by your orthodontist. If the retainers are not worn, all the hard work with the braces or clear aligners may become undone. It is also important that you keep the retainers clean. The retainers, just like your teeth, require brushing to remove bacteria, plaque and debris. You may also like to soak your retainer is a retainer cleaning material now and then to help keep them clean.

A fixed retainer:

A fixed retainer is a small wire that is fixed/bonded to the backs of your front teeth. These retainers are usually a thin stainless steel wire. The wire is generally not visible and although it may feel odd at first, generally people get used to it very quickly. Bonded wire retainers are not a substitute for the removable retainers, but usually an added precaution. The wire retainers are only glued to the front teeth and hence it is important to still use the removable retainer which will cover all of the teeth.

The fixed retainer may not be suitable in all cases and your orthodontist will help you decide which retainer is best for you.

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