Orthodontic Retainers

Types of Orthodontic Retainers

The role retainers plays in orthodontic care

The day is coming when your teen is scheduled to have their braces removed. If they are like most kids, they are excited to finally enjoy snacks and food without fear of gumming up their braces or snapping a bracket. Let them enjoy the win of getting the braces off but now the important part of the orthodontic treatment – the retainer.

Why Would I Need My Teeth Retained?

A retainer is an important orthodontic appliance that is used to ‘retain’ the position of teeth after orthodontic care. There are many reasons that teeth may go back to their original position prior to orthodontic treatment:

  • There are fibers called “periodontal ligaments” around your teeth, tightening your teeth together. Those fibers keep your teeth connected to the jawbone. They also have a memory and tend to contract to retain their original position.
  • If you are still growing, your bones may increase in size, which can reverse the hard work done with orthodontic treatment.
  • Powerful muscles surround your teeth. Those muscles tend to exert pressure on your teeth, displacing them and reversing orthodontic treatment.
  • Wisdom teeth can cause misalignment in your teeth when they try to erupt in your mouth, which is why your orthodontist may recommend wisdom teeth extraction.

What are The Types of Retainers?

There are several types of retainers, and we will discuss the most common ones:

Removable Retainers

  • A Hawley Appliance consists of 3 wires, one around the front teeth and the other two around each first molar. These wires are then attached to a plastic mold adapted to the roof of the mouth.
  • A Begg’s Appliance features one wire running in front of the teeth and then arched from behind to attach to a plastic mold resting on the roof of the mouth.
  • An Essix retainer is a transparent plastic device that fits over the teeth, like a clear aligner. The Essix retainer helps keep the teeth in place without wires.

Fixed retainers

If your child or teen is forgetful or loses things easily, perhaps a permanent retainer would be a better solution. The fixed retainer consists of wires that are glued to the inside of the teeth to help hold the structure in place. The fixed retainer provides long-term retention and will require special attention when brushing to remove food particles from the wire.

When Would I Wear my Retainer if I Went for the Removable Option?

Your orthodontist may recommend wearing the retainer around the clock for the first few months to make sure there is no early shifting. After the initial few months, the retainer should be worn indefinitely while sleeping.

Orthodontic treatment is an investment and retainers are the best way to keep teeth straight after the braces come off.

Expert Orthodontic Care

If you are exploring braces for your child, teen, or yourself, Dr. Rush Davidson is one of the best in the business. Dr. Davidson practices at our West Chester and Beavercreek locations and is accepting new patients! Schedule a free consultation at one of our locations to get started.