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Orthodontic Retainer

Orthodontic Retainer

Retainers are not an orthodontic appliance in that they do not move the teeth. They are however essential in almost all cases to help prevent the teeth moving once the braces are removed.

What are retainers?

Retainers are fitted at the end of orthodontic treatment after the braces are removed. They can be either removable or fixed onto the teeth. There are different types of retainers. The choice of retainer is affected by a number of different factors and your orthodontist will explain which retainer is best for you. Sometimes you will be recommended to wear more than one type of retainer to reduce the chances of the teeth relapsing.

Almost every patient who has had orthodontic treatment needs to wear retainers. If you do not wear these retainers then your teeth will go crooked again, and the hard work in wearing the braces will be lost. You should only go ahead with orthodontic brace treatment if you are also happy to wear retainers to keep the result at the end.

Why do I need to wear retainers?

There are two reasons for wearing retainers:

  • Teeth tend to want to move back towards their original positions. This is called relapse.
  • As we get older our teeth may start to move unpredictably, often showing some crossing over and increased in crowding.

By wearing retainers long-term we can reduce these age changes in the position of the teeth. The longer you wear retainers, the longer you can keep your teeth straight.

Bonded Retainer

This is the most common type of retainer for the lower front teeth. Bonded retainers are glued to the back of the lower six front teeth and can be left permanently in place in order to ensure that the teeth will not shift position.

Clear Retainers

This is one of the most common retainers for the upper front teeth as they are clear and virtually invisible. Usually worn during sleep, clear retainers ensure that the treated teeth will not shift position.

Plate Retainers

Used in either the upper or lower arches, Plate Retainers ensure that the teeth will not move and provide piece of mind after you orthodontic treatment.

Banded Retainers

For more specific issues, Banded Retainers may be needed. These are glued to the back of the teeth and can be left permanently to ensure that the treated teeth do not move.