As important as the braces are, the orthodontic retainer can prevent teeth from moving and shifting after treatment is complete. Retainers vary in type and can be used for a variety of orthodontic purposes but the most common use is to prevent teeth from shifting after braces.
What kinds of retainers should you use?
There are several types of retainers and an orthodontist can help you choose the most suitable retainer for you. The most common type of retainer is known as a Hawley retainer. It has an acrylic plate that is molded to fit the patients roof of their mouth and has a metal wire that wraps around the front teeth. Another type of retainer is known as a fixed bonded retainer, which is not removable and adheres to the inside of the lower front teeth. Patients sometimes prefer to wear removable clear retainers as they are generally non-visible.
How long should I wear my retainer?
The amount of time someone needs to wear a retainer varies from patient to patient. Typically, teeth tend to move towards their original pre-braces position with the greatest movement in the first few months following braces removal and then again later in life. Therefore, you should be very diligent about wearing your orthodontic retainers long term in order to protect your investment of effort, time, and cost. More about braces and retainers.