When you are fitted with a retainer, consider it the light at the end of the orthodontic tunnel! A retainer is usually the end of the road when it comes to orthodontics, and this means your new healthy and beautiful smile is here to stay. You have been committed to getting that gorgeous grin, and we want you to keep it!
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The purpose of a retainer is to “retain
s” or maintain your teeth in position following active orthodontic treatment. A retainer prevents shifting of teeth while the bone and ligaments surrounding the teeth retighten to their new positions.
There are two basic types of retainers, removable or fixed, and they are custom-made for your teeth. We will generally recommend the right retainer for you based on your case, and like every part of your orthodontic treatment journey, we will listen to what you think makes sense for you as well.
Traditional removable retainers, or Hawley retainers, include an acrylic portion that sits against the roof or floor of the mouth and is attached to a metal wire that encircles the front teeth. The wire is adjustable and can
also be used to encourage minor movement of front teeth if necessary.
Clear, or Essix retainers look similar to clear Invisalign® aligners, and act as a more discreet alternative to the traditional retainer. They are molded to your aligned teeth, and sit over your entire arch, but are not adjustable.
An advantage of removable retainers is that they allow for easier oral hygiene, as they are removed for cleaning your teeth, as well as eating. They are also easy to remove for things like sports activities. The down side to removable retainers is that they can get lost easily, so patients must take care to keep track of them whenever they are removed from the mouth.
A fixed retainer is a wire that is bonded to the back of the lower front teeth. It can sometimes remain in place for life if maintained with good oral hygiene. Fixed retainers are great if patients don’t want to worry about remembering to wear their retainer or replacing it if it gets lost or broken.
The drawback to fixed retainers is that they require more compliance and time with regards to hygiene. Floss threaders are needed to floss underneath the wire to avoid gum problems and/or cavities in the area.
If you are one of our patients, and having difficulties with your retainer, you already know you never need to hesitate to give us a call. If you aren’t a patient yet, but are interested in seeking orthodontic treatment, contact us today! We can schedule your complimentary consultation and get you started on the road to a beautiful, healthy smile. We are the Pinecrest local orthodontic office, and also proudly serve the neighboring communities of Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Kendall and South Miami!