San Leandro Orthodontist

Importance of RetainersSan Leandro, CA

No matter the type of braces or aligners in the teeth straightening process, most people will need to wear a retainer for at least 6 months following the treatment. In some cases, people may need to continue wearing the retainer during sleep indefinitely. People who do not wear the retainer will find that their teeth revert back to the original position.

Even though it can seem tedious after almost two years of wearing braces, a retainer is crucial to preventing the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is that the teeth return to their original, crooked state and the patient has to wear braces again. However, by wearing a retainer for the proper amount of time, patients will be able to enjoy straight teeth for a more uniform smile.

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Traditional Retainers

There are multiple options for the patient when it comes to wearing a retainer. Following the removal of braces, a patient may have to wear the retainer throughout the day and night. Due to this, there are clear retainers that resemble clear aligners. One traditional type of removable retainer is known as a Hawley Retainer. This type of retainer usually consists of acrylic or plastic with wires that attach to the bottom row of teeth.

This retainer will display one wire over the bottom teeth but is user-friendly. This type of retainer is fairly easy to clean and more sturdy than other versions. People may need to wear this type of retainer on the upper teeth as well. Since it is removable, people will need to remove the retainer to eat, brush their teeth and clean the retainer.

Permanent retainers are another option to provide more support to the teeth as they adjust to their new position. Permanent retainers will require the patient to stay on top of oral hygiene habits and use a floss threader to reach between the teeth and the wire. Fortunately, floss threaders are affordable and available at multiple stores. A benefit of permanent retainers is that they will attach to the back of the teeth and be more discreet.

Clear Retainers

Clear retainers are another popular option for patients who want to choose a discreet type of retainer. Also known as an Essex retainer, clear retainers closely resemble Invisalign® aligners. We will take a mold of the patient’s teeth before to make sure the retainer is an exact fit. The clear retainers are transparent and more difficult to notice than metal retainers.

People will not notice these retainers immediately unless they are up close and looking right at the teeth. However, there are a few factors to remember when wearing these retainers.

Difficult to Clean

Cleaning the clear retainers will be more challenging since the grooves will fit directly around the teeth. Therefore, the grooves can trap plaque and bits of food. These grooves are also difficult to reach with a toothbrush. When brushing the teeth, the patient will need to brush the retainer with a bit of toothpaste as well as the teeth. It also helps to rinse the retainer and wash off saliva before placing the retainer in any type of case.

Food Sticking Between the Teeth

Since this type of retainer is clear, people will still see the teeth beneath the plastic. If a patient has a piece of food between the teeth, then the retainer will not cover it up. In other cases, the food and plaque will stick to the retainer and begin to fester if the patient does not clean the retainer on a regular basis. Before replacing the retainer after a meal, the patient will benefit from at least rinsing the mouth out with water, flossing or brushing the teeth.

Not as Durable

The plastic may not be as durable as an acrylic retainer with a metal wire. Due to this, people need to keep a close eye on the condition of the retainer. If the patient notices anything wrong with the retainer, then it is crucial to call us. People must not attempt any repairs on their own without professional services.

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In many cases, the patient will eventually only have to wear a retainer while sleeping at night, depending on the need of the patient’s teeth. Retainers are crucial for helping people avoid wearing orthodontic appliances again in the future. If you or a loved one is in need of a retainer or repairs, give us a call and schedule an appointment. We will examine your teeth and determine the most effective course of action for your needs.