You’re free from braces or clear aligners and you now have the smile you have always dreamed of! Now that you have completed your treatment with braces or clear aligners, it is time for the retention phase to begin. The retention phase does not involve any additional movement, it is all about keeping your teeth in their new position long enough for the bone to harden around them.
Retainers are custom-made and can be removable or fixed. Below are the three main types of retainers.
- Traditional retainers are removable and incorporate a metal wire that wraps around the front teeth and attaches to an acrylic arched structure that covers the roof of the mouth. Even though the main goal of a retainer appliance is to keep the teeth in place, this type of retainer can be adjusted to make some final adjustments to the teeth and continue minor movements of the front teeth.
- Essix retainers are similar to clear aligners and offer a much more pleasing look than traditional wire retainers. This type of retainer is clear and fits over the entire arch of the teeth or can cover from canine to canine, this sub-style is called a clip-on retainer. This retainer is made using a mold of your teeth after treatment is completed.
- 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 for life.
- Fixed retainers are similar to traditional retainers in that they include wires. However, in this case, the wires are bonded to the teeth. This device can be kept in place for life or removed after wisdom teeth are extracted, depending on the needs of the patient.
Pros and Cons
- Removable retainers are easier to keep clean because you can take them out to eat or perform your oral hygiene routine.
- Being able to take out your removable retainers also means that you can lose them. To avoid this, keep your retainer in its case any time it is not in your mouth.
- A fixed retainer makes compliance easy and it is impossible to lose.
- When considering a fixed retainer, remember that your teeth and appliance will require extra attention when flossing and brushing.