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.
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 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 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 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.