Post-treatment dental appliances

Who should wear a retainer?

Retainers are recommended by the orthodontists in most cases after surgery or after removing the fixed orthodontic appliance.

After removing the fixed dental appliance, the result of the therapy needs to be stabilized, meaning that teeth should “learn” the new position. During this final procedure, the retainer stabilizes and makes the change permanent; in other words, retainers are only used after therapy to finalize, thus rebalancing the occlusion.

For how long do you need to wear a retainer?

Retainers should be worn according to your orthodontist’s advice from a few months to a few years in cases of very complex orthodontic corrections.

How does an orthodontic retainer look like and what are the available retainers you can get?

The most common retainers are the transparent mouthtray, which is placed directly on teeth and fixed retainers, made of plastic or wire. Here are the most common retainers in this category:

  1. Mobile retainers:
    1. Hawley—it’s an arch (metallic wire with alternative transparent solutions) that is anchored on an acrylic basis set on the palate. This type of appliance may continue the treatment started with a fixed appliance, as it can be set to keep on repositioning teeth.
    2. Zendura—it’s a pressure formed retainer, made of transparent materials, extremely durable.
    3. Essix—it’s a vacuum formed retainer, made of transparent materials, similar to Invisalign appliances, which can be manufactured in such a way as to cover all the teeth on the arch or just the canines and incisors. These appliances are very comfortable, yet less recommended to patients suffering from bruxism (because, in such a context, the material would soon deteriorate).
  2. Fixed retainers, with wire, can’t be removed by the patient, thus complicating hygiene; these are usually prescribed by orthodontists when the risks related to teeth shifting back in their original position after the completion of the original treatment are high; for example, when the treatment encompasses major interventions on the occlusion. As a rule, the time needed to wear such appliances is longer than that needed for mobile retainers.

How many hours per day should one wear an orthodontic retainer?

Sometimes, it may be enough if the patient wears the retainer during sleeping hours, while on other occasions it may be necessary to be worn almost all the time. We advice our patients not be worry too much, as a retainer is a lot easier to be worn than a standard orthodontic appliance.

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