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Retainers


A dental retainer is a custom-made orthodontic appliance used to keep teeth in place after dental braces are removed. Once your braces come off, your teeth need to settle into the jawbone and soft tissue that hold them in place. Made of wire and plastic or rubber, retainers keep your teeth from wandering or shifting over time, making wearing a retainer even more important.

There are two types of retainers after braces: Fixed and removable. Choosing the type usually involves the clinical needs of the individual case, the wishes of the patient, and the overall compliance that the dentist and patient can expect from retainer maintenance.

Which retainer is right for you?

Removable retainers can be taken off to eat or brush your teeth. You should wear them full time for about a year, and then worn only at night once your orthodontist or dentist gives you the go-ahead. You can choose between a Hawley retainer or an Essix retainer. Hawley retainers are the most common type of retainer and consist of a plastic base that adheres to the shape of your mouth. This is connected to a wire that wraps around your teeth, keeping them in place. Essix retainers are made of clear plastic and resemble Invisalign® or teeth whitening trays.

Fixed, or permanent, retainers are cemented to the back of your teeth to keep them in place. A fixed retainer has the best outcome because the bonded wire will hold the newly straightened teeth in perfect formation. 

Retainers

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