Even though retainers are used after braces are removed, potential Orlando braces patients should still be well-educated on the purpose and function of retainers before they get their braces. Retainers are critical for keeping the teeth in place after braces have done their job, both short-term and long-term. When patients neglect their retainers, their teeth will more than likely shift back to their original positions – which translates to an enormous waste of time and money!


What Is a Retainer?

Orthodontic retainers are customized mouth pieces that are worn for certain periods of time after a patient’s braces are removed. Retainers are made for each Orlando braces patient the day that their braces are removed. The process uses a custom mold that fits snugly to the position of their perfect new smile. Wearing a retainer ensures that the teeth do not shift back into their original positions. Have more questions? Click here.

Types of Retainers

There are a few different types of retainers that braces patients can choose from. The most common retainers include Hawley retainers, Essix retainers, and permanent retainers. Hawley retainers are made from plastic with metal clasps that fit snugly around the teeth. Essix retainers are similar to Invisalign, as they are clear plastic trays that resemble mouth guards. Permanent retainers use wires that are fastened to the back of the teeth. Unlike Hawley or Essix retainers, permanent retainers cannot be removed on a daily basis.

Retainer Uses

There are two main uses for retainers after braces: immediately after the braces are removed and long-term use after the initial removal period. When braces are first removed, Orlando braces patients will need to wear their retainers “full-time” for a time period recommended by the orthodontist. This means that they should always be worn, except for when eating and cleaning the teeth. This full-time period typically lasts from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on the patient’s orthodontic condition. After this period, orthodontists often recommend that patients continue to wear their retainer every night for as long as they want their teeth to stay straight – which is forever!

Importance of Retainers

We cannot stress enough the importance of wearing retainers. This is because when braces are initially removed, the ligaments and structures of the mouth have not yet set in place. If the braces patient does not wear a retainer, the teeth will shift back into their original positions. Shifting is not a possibility – it will definitely happen without a retainer! Even after the initial full-time wear period, the teeth may still slowly shift back over the course of the patient’s life. This is why long-term nightly retainer use is typically also recommended.

Want more info on retainers or want so schedule an appointment? Call 407-447-9060.

So it’s almost time to get your braces off. Congratulations! As you approach braces removal, it’s time to consider your choice of retainer. There are a few different types of retainers that are available to Orlando braces patients. Each of these types has its advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, certain types of retainers may be better-suited for patients with different lifestyles. Before the big day arrives, take some time to speak with your orthodontist about the different types of retainers and which one will work best for you.

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Removable vs. Fixed Retainers

The first consideration when looking into retainers is to consider whether you want a removable retainer or a fixed retainer. As indicated by the name, a removable retainer is similar to a mouthpiece and can be taken out and put back in at any time. Depending on the type, removable retainers are typically made with acrylic, plastic and/or metal. Removable retainers are the most common types of retainer. Fixed retainers, also called permanent retainers, are attached along the back of the teeth and remain in that position until removed by the orthodontist.

Types of Removable Retainers

There are two primary types of removable retainers: Hawley retainers and clear retainers, which are also referred to as Essix retainers. Orlando braces patients who want a removable retainer should schedule an orthodontic consultation to discuss which type of removable retainer may be best for them.

Hawley Retainers

Hawley retainers are the most common type of retainer. They are made from acrylic that is molded to fit across the roof of the patient’s mouth and along the back of the bottom teeth. They also feature metal clasps that fasten snugly around the teeth, with a metal wire that runs across the front of the teeth.

Clear Retainers

Clear retainers are similar to the Invisalign invisible braces system. They are also referred to as Essix retainers, after one of the brands of this type of retainer. Clear retainers are made from a thin, transparent type of plastic that is vacuum-formed to the teeth. As a result, they resemble mouth guards. Clear retainers have the obvious benefit of being less visible to others than Hawley retainers. However, they may be less durable. They are therefore not recommended for braces patients with certain conditions, such as teeth grinding.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers may be recommended for those who have a higher risk of their teeth shifting back into their original positions. The orthodontist may recommended that a fixed retainer is kept in place for several months after the braces are removed, or even for the duration of the patient’s life. The main advantage for fixed retainers is that patients do not need to worry about forgetting to put their retainer in. However, they may be more difficult to clean, as patients will need to make sure they’re removing all food particles and buildup that may get trapped underneath or behind the wires.

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