Most people think orthodontic treatment is over after they get their braces off or finish their series of aligner trays. However, keeping your teeth in their proper position is just as important as moving them there. For this reason, the use of a retainer after your treatment is complete is crucial.
At Kelly Smile Dentistry, we specialize in the three types of retainers. We typically fabricate a retainer immediately following the removal of your braces or the completion of your clear aligners. Dr. Kelly can review your options, answer any questions, and help you choose the appropriate appliance.
The oldest and most common type of retainer is the “Hawley.” The Hawley retainer consists of an acrylic base with a metal wire that sits against your front teeth. The acrylic base also has metal clasps that hook around your back teeth to hold the retainer in place. A Hawley retainer can be used for the upper and lower arches, depending on your situation.
We take an impression of your teeth and gums to ensure your Hawley retainer is comfortable and effective. Because this custom-fit retainer is removable, your dedication to treatment is paramount. With the proper care and maintenance, your Hawley retainer should last for many years.
Clear Plastic Retainer
A clear plastic retainer is also a removable retainer. This option has become increasingly popular in recent years. The retainer is similar to a clear aligner, in that it is highly discreet. Most people will not notice you have your retainer in unless you point it out.
Unlike clear aligners, a plastic retainer will not apply pressure to your teeth. Instead, it is designed to fit precisely over your teeth and maximize comfort. While they are not as durable as Hawley retainers, many people find their comfort and discretion very appealing.
Fixed Bonded Retainer
A fixed bonded retainer, as the name suggests, is a non-removable appliance. This type of retainer typically consists of a thin wire that is bonded directly to the back surfaces of your anterior (front) teeth. In most cases, a fixed bonded retainer is used to retain the teeth in the bottom arch.
We may recommend a fixed bonded retainer if you are at a higher risk for your teeth shifting back to their original position. Because it is bonded to the back of your teeth, a fixed retainer is also very discreet. We typically keep the appliance in place for several months or more. After which, we will fabricate a removable retainer for long-term use.
Maintaining Your Retainer
At first, you may be asked to wear your retainer close to full time. After a few months, you should be able to wear it only at night, unless we tell you otherwise. To increase the longevity of your appliance, be sure to implement proper care and maintenance.
Keep your retainer in its case when you are not wearing it. Keeping it anywhere else is a good way to damage or lose it. We will give you a set of cleaning instructions before you leave our office. Without regular cleanings, your retainer could collect harmful bacteria that can affect your oral health. Talk with Dr. Kelly to learn more about retainer maintenance.
Schedule an Appointment
To learn more about our orthodontic treatment call (442) 229-0766, and schedule an appointment today!