At last, your teeth are brace-free and straight. Your smile now radiates happiness and beauty. However, this does not mean the end of your orthodontic journey. It essential for you to wear retainers to help maintain the proper alignment of your teeth. Retainers eliminate the risk of changes in tooth alignment by holding your gums, bone, and muscles together after your teeth have been straightened.
Types of Retainers
A retainer is a personalized dental appliance that can either be fixed or removable. There are 3 types of retainers:
Traditional removable retainers
They normally have a metal wire that encloses the front teeth. The metal wire is connected to an arch on your palate. It can be manipulated as the treatment progresses to continue minor teeth movement.
Fixed retainers are made of wires joined together behind the top and/or bottom of the teeth. This type of retainer is usually worn for less than a year after your wisdom tooth extraction. But in some cases, fixed retainers are used for life.
Also known as Essix retainers, these are the clear type of retainers. They either sit over your entire front teeth or are only attached from tooth to tooth. They look almost the same as clear aligners.
Not sure whether you want fixed or removable retainers? Here are some things to consider:
- Removable retainers can be detached easily, especially for hygiene and eating needs.
- They can easily be misplaced. So, whenever you detach your retainers, put it in a safe place or bring a case for safekeeping.
- These appliances are useful for those who are not bothered by the amount of time per day that it must stay in place.
- Fixed retainers demand extra effort to remove remnants of food and dental plaque. Patients wearing these must regularly floss using dental threaders between the teeth and the retainer to prevent gingivitis and formation of dental caries.
Your orthodontist will give you directions on how to properly care for your retainer. Also, following instructions from a medical professional is critical to the success your orthodontic journey.