Which Type of Retainer Is Right for You?

If it only took you months of wearing braces or clear aligners to straighten your teeth, consider yourself lucky. Most people devote a year or more to orthodontic treatment in order to get a straight, even set of pearly whites. Because you dedicated so much time to getting your smile in order, you probably want to do everything you can to keep it that way. Retainers give you a tool to do exactly that. 

But there are multiple retainer types from which you can choose. At Georgetown Orthodontics in Washington, DC, Maya Oliver, DDS, and our team help you understand your retainer options so you can choose the right tool to keep your teeth straight. 

Your retainer options

At our office, Dr. Oliver offers three types of retainers:

Hawley retainers

When you think about a removable retainer, this is probably what comes to mind. These retainers affix a wire to a plastic or rubber base that’s molded to fit precisely in your mouth. These retainers work best for people who only need to wear a retainer at night, because the wire is visible across the front of your teeth when the retainer is in place. 

Hawley retainers are durable and can last for years. Also, because they’re removable, it’s easy to clean these retainers

Fixed retainers

If your teeth are likely to shift after treatment, Dr. Oliver offers fixed (permanent) retainers. With this retainer type, Dr. Oliver affixes a thin wire to the back of your teeth using dental cement. This way, you don’t have to follow any specific instructions about when to wear your retainer, and your teeth get the support they need to stay perfectly in place. And, because this type of retainer is hidden behind your teeth, others can’t see it. 

The primary challenge with fixed retainers is cleaning around them. Dr. Oliver can show you how to thread floss under and around your fixed retainer to avoid a buildup of plaque and tartar. 

Clear retainers

Dr. Oliver may recommend that you wear your retainer throughout the day, especially immediately after you finish straightening your teeth. If you want a removable retainer, but you don’t want it to be visible, she offers clear retainers. She molds this retainer from clear plastic to fit snugly over your teeth (much like Invisalign®) to keep your teeth in their proper positions. 

To learn more about your retainer choices and to talk with Dr. Oliver about which type is best for you, call Georgetown Orthodontics or book your appointment online today. We’re here to help you protect your beautiful smile with the ideal retainer for you.

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