When we think of going to the orthodontist, most of us think of getting our teeth straightened using an apparatus like braces or Invisalign. But while teeth-straightening is the most visible part of the process, retainers are an enormously important part of the picture as well, even if we sometimes ignore them! But what are retainers for teeth?
Anyone asking “what are retainers for teeth” should start with the basics. Retainers are orthodontic devices whose function is to keep teeth straight. Patients most often use them in conjunction with or as a follow-up to braces or Invisalign. Beyond that, people asking “what are retainers for teeth” need to explore the main types of retainers in Johns Creek, GA so that they can decide with their orthodontist which model suits their situation and lifestyle.
What Are Retainers for Teeth?
There are three main kinds of retainers, all of which would typically be used after a patient has had braces or Invisalign for several months. These three kinds are:
- Hawley Retainers. Hawley retainers are the traditional retainers that are made up of plastic or acrylic and wire, sculpted to the contours of your mouth. The advantage of Hawley retainers is that they are durable and very effective. They can feel invasive at first, and sometimes affect patients’ speech pattern in the early days. But this effect tends to go away once they get used to having a retainer in their mouths. Some patients also dislike these because they are more noticeable than the other kinds of retainers.
- Clear or “Essix” retainers. Although less durable than Hawley retainers, some patients prefer clear retainers because they are clear, molded plastic. For this reason, they are not as noticeable — they resemble Invisalign products.
- Permanent retainers. Sometimes referred to as “bonded” or “fixed” retainers, these retainers are permanently attached to the back of the front teeth. Orthodontists may have you use a permanent retainer for several weeks before moving to another type. And many patients prefer them because they are effective and cannot be seen. But they can also be uncomfortable.
What Are Retainers for Teeth Good For?
When asking, “What are retainers for teeth good for? It is essential to understand that retainers are usually the last phase in any orthodontic procedure. Once whichever teeth-straightening procedure you and your orthodontist have decided upon is complete, it is the job of the retainers to make sure that the teeth do not shift back into their original positions. By wearing retainers — in most cases, only at night — you can reinforce the work already done by your metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, or Invisalign.
If you have a teeth-straightening procedure but then don’t wear your retainers at the specified times, you can undo months of good work! So the next time you ask yourself, “What are retainers for teeth good for?” know that they are just as important as the teeth-straightening procedures themselves.
Reach Out to Ricci Today
If you are asking “What are retainers for teeth “ and have questions about styles, consult a professional. At Ricci Orthodontics, we specialize in suiting the procedure to the patient and have years of experience straightening and maintaining smiles. Contact Ricci Orthodontics by calling 678.932.0308 today, and get your smile back!