After you get your braces removed, you move on to the next stage. In a perfect world, your teeth would stay in place after treatment. However, that is not the case. After spending so much time and effort on your new smile, you will want to preserve it. That is why we always recommend wearing a retainer in Conroe, the Woodlands, and Spring, TX. The next few months are the most critical part of your treatment! It would be best if you committed to using your retainer after receiving orthodontic treatment at Orthodontic Nations to protect your smile and prevent relapse.
What is a Retainer?
Orthodontic retainers are an essential part of treatment for many people who have had braces. Wearing a retainer as directed can help ensure that your teeth remain in their new, correct position once we remove your braces.
An orthodontic retainer is a custom-made appliance worn to hold teeth in their new, corrected position following treatment with braces. An orthodontic retainer typically consists of wires attached to plastic “buttons” or “clasps” on each tooth. The wires extend across the roof of the mouth and fit snugly against it. Retainers can also be made entirely of clear plastic, which looks similar to a retainer used to prevent teeth grinding at night (a.k.a. a “nightguard”).
As soon as we remove your braces, you will wear a retainer full-time for a few months (depending on Dr. Yin’s recommendation). You will then move to wear it only at night for as long as Dr. Yin determines. It is essential to wear the retainer as directed because your teeth can begin to move back toward their original positions if you don’t.
Types of Retainers
Dr. Yin may suggest either a removable retainer, such as an Essix or Hawley, or a permanent retainer (sometimes referred to as a bonded or fixed retainer).
Hawley Retainer: The most common type of removable retainer is the Hawley retainer, which consists of a metal wire that surrounds the teeth and a rubber or plastic piece that rests against the roof of the mouth. Hawley retainers are created by taking a digital scan of the teeth. The benefits of Hawley retainers include their versatility (we can use them to treat a wide range of orthodontic problems) and their durability (they can last for many years).
Essix Retainer: An Essix retainer might be a good option if you desire a clear, removable retainer. The Essix retainer is designed to encase your teeth and fully sit above the gum line. Some people prefer this type because they are less noticeable than wire retainers. Essix retainers are made from thin, clear plastic molded to fit snugly over your teeth. They are virtually invisible, and you can wear them day and night as long as Dr. Yin recommends. Essix retainers are very comfortable and easy to care for
A permanently bonded retainer is entirely another choice. This type, also known as lingual or fixed, is exclusively utilized on the front six teeth, frequently acting solely as a bottom retainer on the lower jaw. The benefits of a permanent retainer are:
- You don’t have to worry about losing it
- You don’t have to remember to put it in
- There is no discomfort from wearing it
We usually recommend a permanent retainer for people with a history of not wearing their removable retainer as prescribed.
Are Retainers Comfortable?
Retainers are generally very comfortable to wear and do not cause any pain. The most common side effect is an increase in saliva flow, which usually goes away after a few days as your mouth gets used to the retainer. You may also experience some discomfort when you first start wearing a retainer because your mouth is not used to having something there. This discomfort will also go away after a few days.
How to Care for Your Retainer
Retainers must be cleaned daily with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and water to remove plaque and bacteria. It is essential to follow Dr. Yin’s instructions on how to care for the retainer to prevent damage or breakage.
Always remember to remove your retainer when eating. Be sure to place them in their case. We have seen many lost retainers due to being placed on a tray, thrown away, or left behind on a table. Just remember, if your retainer is not in your mouth, it must be in its case.
Orthodontic Retainers in the Woodlands, Spring, and Conroe, TX
Our best advice for our patients is to wear their retainers for as long as they want their teeth to stay straight. Various factors might affect how long you need to wear your retainers. Call Dr. Kaifeng Yin today to learn more about retainers and what type might be best for you! We are your top orthodontist in Conroe, the Woodlands, and Spring, TX.