Your teeth are not permanently fixed in place. They can and do move and shift, which is why orthodontics is even possible. If your teeth couldn’t move, your orthodontist would never be able to have a hand in helping you achieve a beautiful straight smile.
While convenient, this aspect of your teeth also has a downside. Your teeth won’t necessarily stay where they are after orthodontic treatment is over. Over the years, your teeth may begin to work their way back to their original positions. For this reason, retainers are imperative to maintaining your newly straightened smile.
There are two general types of retainers – permanent and removable. Each one has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Warning: If You Don’t Wear a Retainer, Your Teeth Will Shift!
Regardless of which type of retainer you choose, ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing your retainer as directed is essential. Retainers pay a vital role in your orthodontic treatment. They hold the teeth in the ideal position after treatment is complete, and retainers help you to avoid a relapse where your teeth start to shift back to their original positions. As long as you follow your orthodontist’s advice, you will be able to maintain your perfect, straight smile with help from your retainer, regardless of its type.
What is a Removable Retainer?
A removable retainer can be made in a few different ways. One option typically consists of a wire, which runs along the front of the teeth and is held in place by an acrylic base. The base has hooks, so it can attach to the backs of the teeth to help keep the retainer in place.
The second and more common type of removable retainer is made of plastic. This type of removable retainer is made from a clear plastic sheet that is formed with heat over a model of your teeth. It has a tight fit and holds all of your teeth in the final position after orthodontic treatment has been completed.
Removable Retainer Benefits
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of a removable retainer is the fact that it is removable, making it much more straightforward to keep up with a proper oral hygiene routine. Other key benefits of removable retainers include:
- Easy to clean
- Simple to use without error
- Convenient to wear every day
- A comfortable way to ensure your teeth stay in their straight positions
When opting for a removable retainer, your orthodontist will likely urge you to have a dedicated place to store your retainer when it’s not in your mouth. Removable retainers are easily stored in convenient containers that can be stored or carried with you to keep your retainer clean and safe.
What is a Permanent Retainer?
Permanent retainers are a type of retainer that is permanently placed in the mouth and is unable to be removed on a daily basis. This type of retainer is typically made up of a smile wire, which runs along the back of the teeth. A cement compound keeps the wire in place, and the bonding technique is similar to what was used to attach your brackets to your teeth while wearing metal braces.
Permanent Retainer Benefits
The main benefit to permanent retainers is that they are a very effective way to ensure your teeth stay in their proper position once braces are removed. You can rest easy knowing that your retainer is working at all times, lowering the risk of your teeth shifting back into their crooked positions. If you opt for this style of a retainer, be sure to floss every day properly. It can be slightly more challenging to reach all areas between the teeth with permanent retainers.
Making The Right Choice For Your Smile
When determining which type of retainer is right for you (or your child’s newly straightened smile), the answer is different for everyone. In some cases, your orthodontist may even recommend you have both permanent and removable retainers. If a removable retainer is recommended, you must be sure to be responsible for wearing and storing it properly. You’ve worked hard to achieve a straight and beautiful smile, so be sure to appreciate all of your efforts and maintain it properly!