Orthodontic retention – What are the different types of retainers?
Retention and retainers are a major part of orthodontics. When we remove your braces, you will begin the retention stage of your treatment which is arguably the most important phase of treatment. The retention phase lasts FOREVER! Just like your hair and skin, your teeth position will change over time. The only way to protect your amazing smile is to wear retainers forever. Most of the time this means wearing a retainer at night only. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.
Types of Retainers for retention:
Hawley retainers are very common forms of retention.
Hawley is the traditional form of orthodontic retention, however Hawley retainers are the most unaesthetic option. It consists of a wire that sits across the front teeth with acrylic covering the roof of the mouth or for the lower teeth the acrylic is behind your lower front teeth. You can pick different fun colors and designs for these types of retainers!
A clear retainer is a great option for either the top or bottom teeth.
You can choose to use a clear retainer that looks like Invisalign. The image below is of a clear retainer for the upper teeth. The two biggest disadvantages of these retainers is that they get lost and since these retainers are clear the stain they get really shows.
Bonded retention is a very common solution for lower teeth.
On the bottom teeth, we use permanent retainer that we bond to the back of your teeth. There is no need to remove this, and as long as the retainer is in place, the teeth stay put! The fact that is permanent is a huge advantage because it no longer relies on your consistent life long commitment. Most people find it hard to wear a retainer every night for the rest of their life.
Experimental retention methods
There is a patent pending method of retention using magnets. This has never gone to market likely for several reasons and our guesses include cost, difficulty in coating the magnets (since magnets degrade in the mouth if left exposed), and inability to floss between them.