You've worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!
Finally, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful, straight, and best of all, metal-free! 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. They are used after braces 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.
- Essix retainers look similar to clear aligners and offer a more aesthetic alternative to wire retainers. This clear retainer will fit over the entire arch of your teeth. It is produced from a mold or 3D printout 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. The metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the front teeth as needed.
- Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded behind the bottom and/or top teeth and are often kept in place for life. Dr. Cobain does not recommend or supply patients with this type or retainer.
Pros and Cons
- 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.
- Fixed retainers do not maintain the alignment of ALL of your teeth, they usually only hold the upper or lower front 4-6 teeth in place. Patients with fixed retainers require a little extra attention while flossing to remove tartar and to prevent early bone loss and gum recession.
- Many fixed retainers break and shift teeth in an undesirable direction that can only be corrected with additional orthodontic treatment. Worst case scenario the entire fixed retainer breaks off and is then digested requiring a hospital visit.