Retainers are orthodontic devices that work to preserve the results of your orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist advises you on which type of retainer is right for your needs.
There are various options when it comes to a new retainer. Some are custom-molded clear plastic trays that fit directly over the surface of your teeth, much like the trays used in InvisalignⓇ and Spark™ alignment systems.
Another option is called a Hawley, which is made of a combination of plastic and metal. These retainers fit over your upper palate, and a metal wire extends across the surface of your teeth to prevent shifting.
There is also a fixed type of retainer that is cemented onto the back of your teeth. This option takes a bit more time to clean, but it ensures treatment compliance because it cannot be removed at home.
The best way to understand the benefits of a retainer is to think about how your orthodontic treatment worked to straighten your smile. Each of your teeth is anchored within your bone tissue.
As your braces or aligners placed pressure on your teeth, they began to slowly move through that bone. While most people think of bone as brittle and unyielding, your bone tissue is actually alive and continuously changing.
Your bone tissue remodeled itself around your shifting teeth, providing support while also accommodating the new positioning. Once your braces come off or you stop using your aligner trays, your teeth can continue to shift. Retainers ensure that your teeth remain in proper alignment as the bone tissue stabilizes.
If you fail to wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist, you risk losing the effect of your newly straightened smile. Your teeth can begin to shift out of position, and once significant movement has occurred, your retainer will no longer fit.
Failing to wear your retainer can also cause problems with your jaw. Orthodontic treatment changes jaw alignment for many, and your retainer ensures that your bone tissue has time to adjust to those changes.
If you still have your wisdom teeth, wearing your retainer can help make room for those back molars to emerge properly. Allowing your teeth to shift can complicate this process and can even lead to the need to have wisdom teeth surgically extracted.
Learn more about retainers and how to make the most of your new smile during a personalized consultation. Booking is as simple as a phone call or a few moments on the online scheduling page.