Retainers: What Are They?
A retainer is a type of orthodontic treatment that is used to help keep teeth in their correct position after they have been moved. They are custom-made and can be removable or fixed. These appliances are typically worn for a period of time after braces are removed, but they can also be used to correct a minor misalignment.
Types of Retainers
There are two main types of retainers: removable and fixed. Your orthodontist will recommend the type of retainer that is best for your individual needs. Now let’s take a closer look at each type of retainer.
Removable Retainers: Pros and Cons
Removable retainers are the most common type of retainer. They are easy to clean and can be taken out for eating, brushing your teeth and flossing. However, they must be worn as prescribed by your orthodontist, or they will not be effective. Additionally, removable retainers can be lost or broken if they are not cared for properly. They are less expensive than fixed retainers but require more vigilance on the part of the patient.
Permanent Retainers: Pros and Cons
Permanent retainers (bonded retainers) are bonded to the back of your teeth and cannot be removed by the patient. They are more expensive than removable retainers but are also more durable. Fixed retainers can be difficult to clean, however, and can also cause gum irritation. Additionally, if a permanent retainer is not placed correctly, it can damage the underlying tooth structure.
What are some other types of retainers? The most common type of removable retainer is the Hawley retainer. It consists of a metal wire that surrounds the teeth and holds them in place. The wire is attached to a plastic piece that rests against the roof of the mouth. Hawley retainers are generally very effective and can be used to correct both minor and major misalignments. They are also relatively inexpensive and can be easily replaced if they are lost or broken.
However, Hawley retainers can be uncomfortable to wear and can cause gum irritation. Additionally, the metal wire can stain the teeth over time.
Clear Plastic Retainers, Essix Retainers
Clear retainers, also known as Essix retainers, are nearly invisible and very comfortable to wear. They are also easy to clean and do not require as much vigilance on the part of the patient as removable Hawley retainers. However, they are more expensive than Hawley retainers and can be easily lost or broken. You can wear them on your front teeth or your back teeth, depending on your needs. They are one of the most popular types of retainers thanks to their invisibility.
Acrylic retainers are similar to Hawley retainers but are made entirely of plastic. They are less expensive than clear plastic retainers but can be more difficult to clean. Additionally, they can cause gum irritation and may not be as effective in correcting misalignments.
Oral Hygiene With Retainers
Similarly to braces, retainers must be cleaned regularly to prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. You should also clean your retainer every time you take it out of your mouth. You can do this by brushing it with toothpaste or soaking it in retainer cleaner.
Types of Retainers: How to Choose the Best Option for You?
Orthodontics offers many different types of retainers to meet the needs of their patients. The type of retainer that is best for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for an invisible option, clear plastic retainers may be the best choice for you. However, if you are looking for a more durable option, Hawley retainers may be a better choice. Be sure to discuss your options with your orthodontist to find the best solution for you. Thanks for reading!
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