Getting your braces off or finishing Invisalign is rightfully a big moment to celebrate! However, your orthodontic journey is not finished here. The final step is using retainers. Using retainers to preserve the hard work of correcting your bite or moving your teeth is an essential final step. Although the act of wearing a retainer is simple enough, there are a few types of retainer options you can choose to finish your orthodontic care. We have an introduction for you here, but be sure to contact us here at Senestraro Family Orthodontics for assistance in figuring out which retainer is right for you.
The most common appliance is the Hawley retainer. Made of acrylic, the Hawley retainer clips onto your teeth with metal wiring. Your orthodontist will take an impression of your teeth and custom create a retainer to fit and persevere your mouth perfectly. With good care, one Hawley retainer can last several years. Hawley retainers are removable, and it is on the patient to be careful not to lose their retainers and be dedicated to regularly wearing the retainer.
Clear Plastic Retainers
A clear plastic retainer is a more modern option, very similar to an aligner. It is difficult to notice someone is wearing a clear plastic retainer. Rather than applying pressure to the teeth the way the Hawley retainer does, a clear plastic retainer preserves your dental alignment by fitting close to your teeth and holding them in place. Like the Hawley, the clear plastic retainer is also removable. The downside of clear plastic retainers is they are nowhere near as durable. Many patients find them to be a bit more comfortable, and of course, their discreet appearance makes them the better cosmetic option to show off your smile after having braces removed.
Fixed Bonded Retainers
Unlike the other retainers discussed, a fixed bonded retainer is non-removable. This retainer is made from metal wiring and is bonded to the back of your teeth. A fixed bonded retainer is only recommended for certain patients. You may be recommended a fixed bonded retainer to retain teeth in the bottom arch or if there is concern your teeth will be more prone to shifting after orthodontic treatment. A fixed bonded retainer is very discreet being on the back of your teeth. Patients typically need it for several months to a year before switching to a removable retainer.
Maintaining Your Retainer
The first few months after having your braces removed, you will need to wear your retainer at all times, except while eating and brushing your teeth. Eventually, we will give you the clearance to only wear your retainer at night. Be sure to protect and maintain your retainer by always putting it in its case when it is not in your mouth. You also need to carefully follow the cleaning instructions given based on your individual retainer. Neglecting to clean your retainer can be almost as bad as neglecting to clean your teeth and lead to more trips to our office.
To learn more about retainers or get a free consultation for orthodontics, please call Senestraro Family Orthodontics at (503) 694-9636 today. Our team of orthodontic specialists are ready to help you have the beautiful smile you deserve.