Once braces are removed, it is critical that patients use a retainer to ensure that their straightened teeth maintain their new position. Without the proper use of an orthodontic retainer following treatment, it should be expected that the teeth will shift back (to varying degrees) to their original (pre-treatment) positions. As such, it’s very important that patients wear their orthodontic retainers as directed.
Orthodontic retainers are custom made dental devices (often fabricated from wires or clear plastic materials) which are used in order to hold teeth in position following braces or any other method of straightening or repositioning teeth. All retainers fall into two general types: fixed or removable. Fixed retainers are bonded in place to the teeth while removable retainers are usually worn at night and/or intermittently throughout the day.
Hawley retainers (removable type) are the most commonly used types of retainers. They are made of a single metal wire that surrounds the front teeth and an acrylic plate that is positioned on the roof of the mouth or tongue-facing side (lingual) of the lower teeth.
Essix (Clear) Retainers
Essex retainers (removable type) are transparent retainers that fit over all the teeth in an arch. These retainers have no wires and can also be worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth.
Bonded lingual retainers (fixed type) are cemented directly onto the inside surface of the lower canines. Like all retainer types, bonded retainers require special care in cleaning, maintenance, and following certain precautions when eating.
Dr. Mike will provide all patients and parents with the instruction needed to ensure the best maintenance and care of their orthodontic retainers. If you have any questions regarding the proper care or use of your orthodontic retainer, contact our office today at (813) 264-6000 or just bring it up at your next appointment.