Do You Know the Types of Retainers?

Finally, it is time to take your braces off and embrace the freedom that comes with it. But it isn’t over now, as after braces come retainers. Wearing retainers after braces is important to ensure your teeth don’t get misaligned again. All the months wearing braces will go down the drain if you skip wearing retainers. How long you will have to wear them depends on your case. There are different types of retainers available; read this blog to familiarize yourself.

Types of Retainers

Removable and permanent retainers are the two basic types. Depending on your condition and reason for braces, your orthodontist will suggest the most appropriate option. You can further divide permanent and removable retainers into:

1. Removable Hawley Retainers

These removable retainers are made of bendable wire and plastic or acrylic. Also known as wire retainers, they are shaped to fit in your mouth, either the roof or the inside of your lower teeth. The metal wire will run across the outside of your teeth, maintaining alignment, so they don’t relapse. Available in different colors and styles, Hawley retainers allow you to be creative with the design.

Some advantages of Hawley retainers are:

  • Adjustable
  • More durable than clear plastic retainers
  • Repairable sometimes
  • Can last longer with proper use and care
  • Allows upper and lower teeth to touch naturally
  • Easy to clean

There are also some disadvantages that these types of retainers bring:

  • Affects speech
  • Noticeable
  • Lips and cheeks might get irritated by the wire

2. Removable Clear Plastic Retainers

These removable retainers are made when a clear plastic mold of teeth is created, allowing them to fit your teeth’s new position after removing braces. Their technical name is thermoplastic or vacuum-formed retainers. Also called clear plastic retainers, they resemble Invisalign aligners.

Some advantages of clear plastic retainers are:

  • Virtually invisible
  • Less bulky
  • More comfortable than Hawley retainers
  • Does not affect your speech as much as Hawley retainers
  • Protects teeth from wear due to grinding
  • Less expensive

But they also have some disadvantages, like:

  • Not adjustable if you need realignment
  • Can’t be repaired if it cracks or breaks
  • Affects your speech more than permanent retainers
  • Warps upon heat exposure
  • Can become discolored over time
  • Does not allow top and bottom teeth to touch naturally
  • Traps liquids against the teeth

3. Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are made of solid or braided wire that is cemented to the inside of your front teeth. The wire is usually bonded behind the six front lower teeth, as it is curved to fit their shape. They’re also called fixed, lingual wire and bonded retainers. Remember, only your orthodontist or dentist can remove them.

Your orthodontist might use them if they think you or your child might not follow the instructions for using a removable retainer. Moreover, they might use it when your teeth can possibly relapse.

Permanent retainers have the following advantages:

  • Not visible to others
  • Doesn’t usually affect speech
  • You can’t lose or misplace them
  • Not damaged easily

But it also has some drawbacks:

Maintaining oral hygiene might be hard, leading to oral health issues
It is glued to your teeth, and you might not enjoy the feeling
Metal wire can irritate your tongue

What Should I Do?

Now that you know the types of retainers, you’ll understand what you need better. Sometimes, dentists go for permanent retainers for the first few months. Later, they switch to removable retainers. If you have misaligned teeth or any other dental issues, dial (832) 895-5110. Our Mission Bend Family Dentistry team looks forward to helping you!

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