We understand the excitement our South Houston patients feel when they finally get their Houston braces off, and we also understand the mild disappointment they may feel when they are told that they need to wear a retainer. However, a retainer is much more pleasant than dental braces and just as important. Here are the different types of retainers and how to wear them to get the most out of your new smile.
Different Types of Orthodontic Retainers
There are 3 kinds of orthodontic retainers and which we recommend you wear depends on your particular circumstances. Here is how they differ.
A bonded retainer is exactly what it sounds like. Bonded retainers are also called permanent retainers because, like dental braces, they are cemented to the teeth with dental-grade cement. Except, rather than being glued on the front of your teeth, they are bonded behind the teeth. Although most of our patients wear them indefinitely, we may also remove them after time has passed if they are causing excessive irritation or plaque build-up.
We often recommend bonded retainers to younger patients who may struggle to be responsible with their retainer or if we think the teeth will shift back to their crooked position too quickly and easily.
More common is the Hawley retainer. This type of retainer is removable and is also called a wire retainer. It’s made up of two parts, each made of plastic or acrylic, which the patient can pick the color for. The top portion is molded to the shape of the roof of your mouth and the bottom portion is molded to the back of your lower teeth. Thin, yet strong wire runs is attached to both parts. The upper retainer has a wire that runs across the front of your teeth, whereas the bottom retainer has a wire that hooks on top and around the teeth to keep them from shifting.
The last type of retainer is a transparent one. It is made similar to Invisalign in that it is removable and made of thin plastic, but this type is molded perfectly to the new alignment of the patient’s teeth.
How to Wear Different Retainers After Houston Braces
Now, for how long should our South Houston patients wear Hawley retainers and transparent retainers?
We often recommend wearing them at all times, except at mealtimes, for 6 months to a year. This is because the teeth will have a natural habit of trying to shift to the position they were in prior to braces if there is no longer anything holding them in place. Being diligent in wearing retainers right after will ensure that the teeth settle into the soft tissues in the mouth and their new position along the jaw. This keeps them from becoming easily misaligned again.
Centra Dental Will Ensure Your Teeth Remain Straight After Houston Braces
If you are nearing the end of your braces treatment, then please book an appointment with us so that we can determine the state of your teeth and recommend the appropriate retainers for your needs. We are passionate about embracing your smile and can’t wait for you to embrace yours.