A retainer is a custom-made oral appliance often used to maintain the alignment of your teeth after orthodontic treatment. If you have finished your orthodontic treatment, our dentists may recommend a retainer to keep your smile properly aligned. As you age, your teeth tend to shift; the retainer ensures that your teeth remain in correct alignment for optimal oral health, functionality and appearance. There are three main types of retainers available:
- Hawley retainers consist of wires and clasps embedded in a plastic body that covers the roof of the mouth (for the upper arch) or lies along the tongue-side of the teeth (for the lower arch). The clasps fit around certain teeth to anchor the retainer in place, while the wire arches across the front of the teeth to maintain their alignment.
- Clear retainers are made of clear plastic and fit snugly over the teeth. A clear retainer is usually more discreet than a Hawley retainer, although it may not be as durable.
- Fixed retainers, also called bonded or permanent retainers, are permanently attached to the backside of the front teeth. They prevent the teeth from shifting out of place and can only be removed by a dental professional.
Our dentists will help you determine whether you need a retainer after your orthodontic treatment. For more information, we welcome you to call us today!