Learning to Take Better Care of Your Family's Teeth

What Types Of Dental Retainers Can Be Worn After Braces Have Been Removed?

For many people, straightening crooked teeth means wearing dental braces for a few years. This can greatly improve the alignment of the teeth and make the teeth look more attractive and healthy. However, once the braces are removed, it is important to keep the teeth positioned correctly in place. This may require wearing custom made retainers after the braces are taken off. These are the different types of dental retainers that are commonly worn after braces have been removed. 

Fixed Retainers 

This type of retainer is a thin wire that sits on the back of the front teeth. Sometimes it is glued to all the teeth, but sometimes only the ends of the wire are glued to the two canine teeth. A fixed retainer works very well at keeping straightened teeth in place so that they do not become misaligned after braces are removed.

A fixed retainer is usually worn until the growth of the lower jaw is completed. However, for some patients, the fixed retainer is left on indefinitely if there is a high likelihood that the teeth will not maintain the correct positioning after braces have been taken off.

Removable Retainers 

A removable retainer is the most common type of retainer worn after braces have been removed. This retainer is often worn for several months after the removal of braces. This type of retainer is commonly made of a thin plastic that is connected to a stainless steel wire that runs across the front of the teeth. The wire holds the teeth in place and keeps them straight.

A removable retainer is usually worn full time for the first few months after braces have been removed. Then, it may only be necessary to wear the retainer at night for the rest of the time it is needed. However, a removable retainer can be taken out when eating, brushing or flossing the teeth for more convenience.

Invisible Retainers 

An invisible retainer is made of a clear, durable plastic that fits right over the natural teeth. Invisible retainers are hardly noticeable when worn and work very well at keeping the teeth aligned. Like removable retainers they can be taken out when eating, brushing or flossing.

To maintain the beautiful smile that is the result of having braces, it is important to wear dental retainers as directed by your orthodontist. Otherwise, you may begin to see that the teeth are becoming misaligned and the space between the teeth may become more noticeable again.