It's the big day and your braces are finally coming off! Does that mean you are completely done? Not so fast! After you complete your treatment here at Melanie Parker Orthodontics, Dr. Melanie Parker and our team will recommend you wear a retainer, which must be worn routinely after treatment in order to hold your teeth in their proper, new position while your gums, ligaments and bones adapt. Most patients are required to wear their retainer every night at first, with many also being directed to wear them during the day. It's important to know there are different kinds of retainers, and today we thought we would explain the differences between them.
The Hawley retainer is one of the most common types of retainers. It is a removable retainer made of a combination of a metal wire that typically surrounds the six anterior teeth and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while the wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in an ideal position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors or patterns.
Essix (Clear) Retainers
The Essix retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of your teeth. This clear or transparent retainer fits over the entire arch of teeth and is produced from a mold. Similar to Invisalign’s clear aligner trays, Essix retainers have no metal or wires. They can also be used to produce minor tooth movements and can be helpful in prevention of tooth wear due to tooth grinding at night.
Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower canines. Dr. Melanie Parker and our team at Melanie Parker Orthodontics encourage our patients with bonded lingual retainers to be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause your teeth to shift. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep your bonded retainers clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your lower teeth, as well as the wire itself.
The retention phase of treatment begins when the patient’s braces are removed. Retainers are worn full time, typically for the first nine months, except while eating. Retainers should also be removed before brushing your teeth.
If you have any questions about the retainers we offer or to learn more about post-orthodontic treatment, please feel free to contact us at our convenient San Diego, CA office and we will be happy to answer any of your questions!