All about orthodontic retainers

Orthodontists provide patients with retainers in the final phase of their realignment treatment. The retainer is used to complete and keep a beautiful smile. There are four types of orthodontic retainers that are custom made to hold the teeth in position. Retainers play a very important role in the realignment process.


Importance of Retainers
Retainers are a very important part of the orthodontic treatment. Teeth can shift back to their original position, if they are not treated with a retainer. The retainer allows teeth to be weaned from constant traction without experiencing movement. They are worn daily and often overnight, after the braces have been removed. Each patient’s treatment is mapped out and strategically planned. The retainer usage will be based on the entire plan. The ultimate goal is to achieve straight teeth and a beautiful smile, without requiring the long-term use of a retainer.


Common Destructive Choices
Most retainers are removable and are removed during eating. A common complaint is that the retainer is thrown away, following a meal. It is important to put the retainer in its case and in the same place every night. This will keep it from being lost or misplaced. Another common complaint is that the dog chewed the retainer and destroyed it. Keeping in its case will help to protect it, but it is also important to keep it on the shelf or cabinet. Dogs are attractive to the smell of saliva.


Unexpected Benefits
1. Retainers can help with snoring. Aligning the jaw can help snoring and breathing, while sleeping.
2. Retainers can help in the adjustment of tongue placement in younger children who are experiencing speech impediments.


Types of Retainers
1. The Hawley retainer is the most commonly known. This retainer includes a metal wire that surrounds the six front teeth. An arch is custom molded to fit on the roof of the mouth. This retainer can be moved easily for final adjustments in the tooth straightening process.

2. An ASTICS retainer has a similar design to the Hawley retainer. A clear wire is used, rather than a metal wire. This provides an invisible, yet adjustable retainer. Excessive breaking has been reported in younger children using the clear wire.

3. The Zendura is a vacuum formed retainer. This is another commonly used design. This retainer is made from PVC material, and it is completely clear and transparent. This retainer can be designed to clip on from canine to canine tooth, or it can fit over the entire arch. This is made in the orthodontist office and fits perfectly. It must be brushed and cleaned each day. It can crack and break, if the retainer is forced on or misused. This type of retainer has flexibility, and it must be worn consistently.

4. Bonded retainers are fixed retainers. These retainers are bonded to the tongue side of teeth. The orthodontist prescribes fixed retainers when the treatment requires great changes in the bite or when there is a high risk for movement.

Creating a perfect smile includes the important process of retainer use. Patients must use retainers consistently and for the entire length of time the orthodontist prescribes.