Retainers After Braces: Keeping the Newly Acquired Beautiful Smile

Posted on: 24 May 2019

If you have been wearing braces and have finally managed to acquire that gorgeous smile you have always wanted, the last thing you want is to lose it. After custom braces are removed, your orthodontist will recommend retention. Retention is vital, so you will need to start wearing a retainer. Are you wondering why this is important? If you don't wear a retainer, the teeth will move to where they were originally before you started wearing braces. Your periodontal ligament needs time to adjust and maintain the new position — retainers are the key to helping with this.

Types of retainers

Like braces, retainers come in various types and are usually customised to suit the patient's needs. Some main types include the following:

Clear aligner: This type of retainer is popular, and it resembles the Invisalign tray system. It's made of a thin transparent plastic material that's precisely designed to fit your teeth. Most people like it because it's invisible and has no wire. However, the retainer may not be ideal for all conditions.

Hawley: This retainer is designed with a thin piece of acrylic and wire. The thin acrylic is usually tongue-shaped and moulded to fit the mouth, while the wire helps hold the teeth in place. The design is durable and easy to remove

Fixed retainers: This form of retainer is an excellent option for some people, particularly on lower-front teeth. The retainer is neither visible nor removable. A wire is used to fix it in the mouth. While the treatment duration is long, these retainers are suitable for patients whose teeth are at a high risk of reverting to the former position.

Adjusting to retainers

Most people adjust to wearing retainers within a short time, but some changes may occur. For instance, you could start producing more saliva after wearing retainers for a day — this reaction is normal when a foreign object gets mounted in the mouth. Also, talking may become a bit difficult at first, but the issue will disappear after a while. Removable retainers must be removed when you are brushing your teeth or eating.

Retainer Maintenance

Like any other objects, retainers need to be maintained. Proper cleaning is required for retainers to keep them fresh and eliminate germs. To clean the Hawley retainer, brush it using a regular toothbrush. This technique isn't suitable for the clear aligner retainers, and special cleaners have to be used for them. A fixed retainer is cleaned by flossing and brushing using an interproximal brush.