When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. Retainers hold the teeth where the braces have moved them. Retainers are VERY important. If you do NOT wear your retainers, you teeth WILL shift. You should wear your retainer FULL time, 24 hours/day for approximately 6-8 months. Dr. Wright will tell you when you can reduce your wear to night time.
Please, please, please wear your retainers! Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.
Types of Retainers
There are three basic types of retainers available today; each works best in particular situations. The most common is the Hawley retainer — a thin, tongue-shaped piece of acrylic molded to fit your mouth, with a wire that holds your teeth in position. The Hawley retainer is simple, durable and easily removed. It’s even possible to personalize it by choosing different colors and designs for the plastic arch. It can also be adjusted to correct minor tooth movements.
Another popular style of retainer is the clear aligner-type, which looks similar to the Invisalign tray system. These are called Vivera retainers. Vivera retainers are custom-made of thin, transparent plastic which is designed to fit precisely over your teeth. Their main advantage is that they’re invisible, with no wire to show. These retainers are also easy to remove, but they may be somewhat less durable than the Hawleys. They aren’t recommended for patients with certain conditions, like teeth grinding.
Finally, fixed retainers may be an option for some people, especially on the lower front teeth. As their name implies, they aren’t removable by the wearer — but they aren’t visible either. Like lingual braces, this system uses a wire which is bonded to the tongue side of the teeth. It may remain in place for months, or longer. This type of retainer is sometimes recommended when there’s a high risk that teeth could revert to their former position.
Design Your Retainer!
The Hawley retainers can be personalized with different colors and designs. Most designs and artwork, as well as all decals are limited to appliances and retainers with full palatal coverage, that means upper retainers. If you are getting an expander, some designs will be unavailable.
If you have any questions about your retainer or which retainer is best for you, please contact us.