Retainers function to maintain your teeth position after completion of orthodontic treatment. Essentially, while braces are used to straighten teeth and create your beautiful smile, retainers are needed to maintain your straight teeth. Retainers prevent teeth from relapsing, but only if you wear them as instructed by your dentist or orthodontist. In fact, if you don’t wear your retainers, your teeth could slowly shift to the point that you might even have to redo your braces!
There are three types of retainers, Hawley retainers, Essix retainers and fixed retainers. Ultimately, the type of retainer that works best for you is determined by your dentist or orthodontist based upon your specific needs. Here is a bit more info about each type of retainer:
Hawley retainers: Hawley retainers are made from acylic and use metal wires to prevent teeth movement. Hawley retainers are removable and are to be worn throughout the day or overnight, based upon your dentist’s recommendation. . Hawley retainers work well and are a great option for teenagers who have just completed their braces work.
Essix retainers: Essix retainers are the other type of removable retainers. Essix retainers are made from firm, clear plastic and resemble teeth whitening trays. These retainers are both less visible and more comfortable than Hawley retainers. An example of Essix retainers is the Vivera retainer made by Invisalign. Vivera retainers are made from proprietary plastic and are very effective in preventing teeth movements. Vivera retainers come in set of four retainers, where each retainer is to be worn for 3 months where you reduce your wear time from 24 hours a day to overnight wear during the year. Essix retainers, especially Vivera retainers, are nearly as effective as Hawley retainers and are a great option for adults who have just finished their Invisalign treatment.
Fixed Retainers Fixed retainers, as their name suggest, are permanently glued onto the back of your front six teeth. The obvious advantage of fixed retainers is that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to wear them as they are permanently anchored onto your teeth. The disadvantage is that wearing fixed retainers makes it very difficult to clean your supporting teeth. The teeth where your retainers anchor onto gather far more plaque and tartar than other teeth. If not cared for properly, this can lead to localized gum problems, cavities and bad breath. If you opt to go for fixed retainers, it is very important to make sure that you clean the area very well and maintain your regular dental cleanings. Fixed retainers are very effective and are ideal for people who have a hard time wearing removable retainers or aren’t disciplined enough to wear removable retainers every night.