What Types of Retainers Are Available?

What Types of Retainers Are Available?

When we consider the scope of orthodontic care, whatever type of braces you choose to straighten and beautify your smile — traditional metal braces, Invisalign clear aligners, lingual braces that attach on the backs of your teeth, or another type — constitute the “main event” of your treatment. 

Retainers are the post-treatment workhorses that ensure your treatment results are preserved. Believe it or not, after treatment, your teeth can shift and return to their previous positions if you don’t use a retainer religiously. 

In addition to offering multiple types of braces for children and adults, Dr. Wayne Hickory also offers more than one retainer option as well. The Embassy Row Orthodontics team takes all the time you need to go over which type of braces fits your lifestyle and treatment goals the best, why retainers are critical, and what types you have to choose from.

Why are retainers important in my treatment?

A retainer is an appliance that you wear to maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment. Some patients wear retainers all the time and they’re placed permanently, while others put them in at night and take them out during the day. If you have a removable retainer, it’s vital that you remain conscientious about wearing it as Dr. Hickory directed, over the long-term post-treatment.

Retainers serve such an important purpose. Your retainer is the key to making sure that the smile you earned through committing to treatment and diligently observing best practices for braces wearers isn’t short-lived. After all, while you were in your active treatment phase, you:

Who wouldn’t want to do all they could to make certain that their teeth didn’t become misaligned again or become placed so that a new challenge is created? Growth, chewing, and swallowing can also contribute to teeth shifting after your treatment, but again, a retainer can prevent this.  

If your retainer is removable, you’re less likely to lose or damage it if you put it in its case when you’re not wearing it. Eventually though, your retainer will show wear-and-tear, and that’s to be expected. You can order a replacement from us at any time. 

Fixed versus removable retainers

If Dr. Hickory advises that you wear a customized fixed retainer, he can easily place it in your mouth. He just connects a flexible wire made out of stainless steel to the back of 4-6 of your teeth, so the retainer is completely invisible. 

The only thing you need to do differently with a fixed retainer is to use a tool that’s specially designed for flossing underneath its wires between your teeth. Fortunately, wearing one of these prevents your teeth from sneakily shifting after your main orthodontic treatment.

The removable retainer that we offer is called Vivera. It’s a transparent tray that’s reminiscent of an Invisalign aligner, but it performs the work of a retainer instead. 

Caring for your retainers properly is important. We already mentioned that the special maintenance tool used in conjunction with a fixed retainer ensures that the retainer wires the teeth they’re attached to can be properly cleaned.

If you use a Vivera retainer, Dr. Hickory recommends that you rinse it with warm water whenever you remove it. Avoid using hot water though, as that can cause your retainer to become misshapen. Using a moistened cotton swab to remove food particles from it, as well as brushing it gently with toothpaste, lengthens its life. 

Typically you wear your removable retainer all the time for the first nine months you have it, but afterward, you switch to nighttime use only. Every patient is different though, so just like your treatment plan, how you use your retainer is customized to your situation. 

Over time, your retainer may become worn or warped, it’s easy for us to provide a replacement. In the meantime, remember that food remnants and heat aren’t your retainer’s friends, and neither is keeping it outside its case. Many retainer wearers have wrapped their retainer up in a paper towel or napkin “temporarily” while they eat, only to unknowingly throw it away. Don’t be that person! 

Call our office at 202-342-9600 to learn more about the importance of a retainer in your treatment or to get one after your treatment concludes. You can also request an appointment by visiting our website.  

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