After your orthodontic treatment is complete, wearing a retainer helps keep your teeth in proper alignment.
Retainer Q & A
Why do I need a retainer?
A retainer is a fixed or removable device that helps you maintain your new, perfect smile. After all, you invested months or years of your time to your orthodontic treatment plan and you don’t want your teeth shifting in the future. Your retainer can be designed to:
- Allow bones, muscles, and gum tissue to adapt to new teeth placement
- Close up any gaps or spaces
- Keep your teeth in place
- Prevent tongue thrust
- Minimize clenching
If you have a removable retainer, such as a traditional Hawley retainer or a clear retainer, the doctor lets you know how often you should be wearing it. Usually, the doctor recommends wearing your retainer 24/7 for the first few months after braces or Invisalign treatment. Once your teeth have become more stable, you move to nighttime wear only.
Which type of retainer do I need?
Georgetown Orthodontics offers many types of retainers customized to your needs. The type of retainer that’s best for you depends on the extent of your orthodontic treatment and whether you’re at risk of teeth shifting after having braces removed. It takes time for bone and connective tissue to build up to keep your teeth in their new alignment. Some of the most common retainers are described below.
Traditional Hawley retainers are made of a plastic material that rests against your gums. They have a wire attached that covers the outside surface of your teeth to hold your teeth in place.
Clear retainers slip snugly over your teeth and are nearly invisible, so you can wear them discreetly throughout the day.
Also known as “permanent retainers,” fixed retainers involve attaching a thin wire across the backs of your upper or lower arches (or both). This wire is bonded in place with dental cement.
How often should I wear my retainer?
If you have a removable retainer, such as a traditional Hawley retainer or a clear retainer, the doctor lets you know how often you should be wearing it. Usually, we recommend wearing your retainer for a few hours each day, or at night while you sleep, after having braces removed.
Because fixed (permanent) retainers are attached to your teeth, maintaining good oral hygiene, especially in the area of the retainer, is extremely important. At Georgetown Orthodontics we let you know which type of retainer is best for you and how long you need to wear it.