Getting your braces off and revealing your brand new smile is an exciting prospect. In order to keep those perfectly aligned teeth, you will be required to utilize some form of orthodontic retainer.
When braces are removed, the teeth need to settle into the soft tissue and jawbone. A retainer helps keep your teeth from shifting to protect your orthodontic results over a lifetime. A custom-made retainer will hold the position of your teeth both immediately following your orthodontic treatment, and over time as aging naturally causes your teeth to shift.
Hawley retainers are the most common type of removable retainer. This retainer consists of a thick plastic body that covers the roof of your mouth or lies on the tongue side of your lower teeth. Clasps grasp selected teeth to anchor the retainer and “bow” wire across the front of your teeth. Hawley retainers are both removable and adjustable.
Another type of removable retainer is an Essex retainer. These clear plastic retainers are made with a cast to fit your teeth and are similar to Invisalign aligners. This type of retainer is less noticeable, but also more fragile and non-adjustable.
The success of any removable retainer depends largely on proper and consistent use as advised by your orthodontist. Your orthodontist may suggest a more permanent option. Fixed retainers are attached directly to the backside of your front teeth. They cannot be removed except by a dental professional. One advantage of fixed or “bonded” retainers is that you do not have to worry about them being lost, and they are always in place to do their job. Fixed retainers may be left in place for the remainder of your life.
Consult with Sherman Oaks CA orthodontist, Dr. Fotovat l to determine the most effective type of retainer for your orthodontic needs.