What are Retainers, their Types, and Why Should You Wear Them?

It looks like the orthodontic treatment you received was successful, and your braces will likely come off in a few days. You can’t wait to show your shiny and blistering teeth to everyone around you. Wait! The orthodontic treatment hasn’t ended yet. 

As soon as you take off your braces, you must put on a retainer. A retainer is a dental appliance worn once the braces are removed. This appliance makes sure that your teeth stay in their new position and do not lose their alignment again. This dental guide will cover all details regarding wearing retainers and help you discover some of the logical reasons for wearing these dental devices once your braces are removed.

3 Distinct Types of Retainers

Retainers are of the following three distinct types.

  • Permanent or Fixed Retainers

A permanent or fixed retainer has a wire bonded to the back of your teeth. These retainers are perfect for those individuals whose teeth were too rotated, crowded, and had ample spacing between them before receiving orthodontic treatment.

A fixed retainer stays on your teeth, and you cannot take it out. Hence, it gets difficult for you to clean these retainers.

  • Removable Hawley Wire Retainers

Removable retainers are amongst the most common types of retainers. These retainers are made of bendable wire and plastic or acrylic material. Removable retainers are available in a wide range of styles and colors. Removable retainers are relatively easy to clean. If proper care is taken, Hawley retainers can last long.

  • Clear Retainers

Removable clear retainers are designed to fit your newly positioned teeth perfectly. Such types of retainers are made of molded clear plastic. These types of retainers are virtually invisible and are less bulky. Hence, these types of retainers do not affect your speech.

A drawback of clear retainers is that they have a shorter lifespan because the plastic wears out and may even crack.

Why do You Need to Wear Retainers?

There can be several reasons for crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. Genetics can be one of these reasons. If you do not use a retainer once your braces are removed, your teeth will revert to crooked positions. 

Also, ignoring a retainer may lead to orthodontic relapse, which may demand extensive treatment. Although your teeth will shift to the wrong positions once braces are removed; however, the extent of shifting depends on how regularly you wear retainers.

5 Reasons to Wear Retainers

Here are a few logical reasons for wearing SportingSmiles Teeth Retainer after removing braces.

  • Retainers Stabilize Your Bite

After removing braces, the soft tissue and bone around your teeth need time to adapt to changes in the tooth positioning. Your teeth gradually stabilize in their new arrangement, and once this happens, the likelihood of relapsing or teeth shifting out from their original positions gets reduced significantly.

  • Maintain Space for Wisdom Teeth and New Teeth

Braces are worn mainly by preteens and teenagers whose bodies are developing. This means you are using retainers around the time when wisdom teeth are erupting. When you use a retainer diligently, there will be enough space in the jaws for the wisdom teeth to accommodate. Consistent use of retainers ensures that the teeth do not shift or crowd because of a lack of space.

  • Retainers Prevent Treatment Reversal

Once the braces are removed, the teeth start shifting back to their old positions within a few months. That’s where a retainer becomes vital. A retainer can prevent the reversal. However, depending on your specific conditions, you may be asked to wear a retainer for a couple of years.

  • Retainers Align Your Jaw Bones with Gums

Once your teeth align to new positions, the gums and bones surrounding the teeth take longer to follow suit. Retainers help in accelerating alignment and stabilizing your bite.

  • Retainers Help Teeth Holding Their Position

If you use braces to fill the gaps between your teeth, it takes longer for the teeth to stabilize. This holds even for severely displaced teeth, large overbites, and underbites. It is essential to hold the teeth that need to be moved slightly or repositioned firmly to their new spaces until the mouth can adapt to these changes. The retainers help in achieving this objective.

How Long Do You Need to Wear A Retainer?

The average period for wearing a retainer following braces removal is 12 months. During this time, or at least for the 4-6 months, you may have to wear the retainer full time. However, each orthodontic treatment is unique, which means the exact duration of wearing a retainer is dependent on the type of orthodontic treatment you have received.

Read Also: do you brush your teeth after whitening strips


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