Understanding the Different Types of Retainers

You’ve completed your active orthodontic treatment phase — meaning the time during which your braces were in place — and you couldn’t be happier with your smile. But there’s a key tool required after your orthodontist removes your braces that will ensure your smile stays on track.

You receive a retainer after your braces or Invisalign trays are removed. This device preserves that perfect smile as you go forward. There are two types of these appliances, and your orthodontist recommends the kind that he thinks will complement your treatment best and work for your needs.

Dr. Wayne Hickory and the Embassy Row Orthodontics team are just as highly skilled in offering guidance and fitting you with a retainer as they were about partnering with you during your active treatment time. Dr. Hickory is always receptive to questions and provides all the time you need to consider your post-treatment retainer options.

Does everyone need a retainer? If so, why?

Retainers are universally provided to patients who complete orthodontic treatment. Your teeth have a natural tendency to shift again after treatment, maybe even to mimic your pre-treatment bite, and retainers stop this from happening. You’ll need to wear your retainer either continuously or daily, depending on which type you have, to ensure that the work your braces did remains pristine. 

After all, you’ve invested your time and financial resources into making your smile magnificent. It would be a shame for this hard work to be compromised. Fortunately, retainers offer a comfortable, convenient solution. 

Orthodontic retainers: Removable versus permanent

Depending on your situation, the retainer that Dr. Hickory recommends for you will either be removable or placed for the long-term. 

He may advise that you get the Viveraremovable retainers, which are clear trays that fit snugly over your teeth. If you received Invisalign treatment, you’ll already be familiar with how they work.

Usually you wear your Vivera retainer all the time for the first nine months post-treatment, but Dr. Hickory lays out a customized schedule for you beyond that, which often requires that you just wear your retainer while you sleep. Since it’s transparent, your appearance isn’t affected. 

The Vivera retainer offers you ease because you can remove it when necessary, and it doesn’t interfere with your brushing and flossing.

If Dr. Hickory feels that a permanent retainer is a better choice for you, he fastens a flexible wire made of stainless steel to the backs of between four and six of your teeth that stays in your mouth.

The fact that the wire is always in your mouth means that your teeth have zero chances of shifting, and you don’t have to think about inserting or removing it. It’s comfortable and invisible too, so neither you nor the world will even know it’s there. You typically use a device that’s specially made for getting food debris that may collect between the back sides of your teeth and the wire when you have this type of retainer.

What if I don’t have lots of time to care for my retainer?

Not a problem! Whether you get a removable or permanent retainer, there’s little effort required to care for them properly. 

If you have the Vivera retainer, all you need to do is clean it every time you remove it, with a quick rinse in slightly warm water — water that’s too hot can damage it. Next, lightly brush it with a soft-bristled toothbrush filled with toothpaste, and use a moistened cotton swab to remove any stubborn food that makes its way into the retainer’s hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. 

Another tip if you have the Vivera retainer: Protect the trays from loss by storing them in the case we give you, whenever you’re not wearing them. 

If you have a permanent retainer, you use the tool designed to remove debris that we mentioned earlier, since the space between the permanent retainer’s wire and your teeth is so tight. 

Small appliance, great benefit

We can’t overemphasize the importance of retainers in your orthodontic treatment. If you have a Vivera retainer, it’s important to wear it as directed, religiously. If you damage or lose it, contact our office and you can easily get it replaced. 

Your retainer is the key to avoiding orthodontic relapse, and maintaining the smile you now cherish. To get an idea of Dr. Hickory’s extraordinary work, take a look at our “Before and After” page

Call our office to learn more about the role of retainer treatment in your overall orthodontic plan, or book one online

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