When it comes to completing your orthodontic treatment, it can be exciting to finally have your braces removed. However, due to the increased chance of damaging your oral health during the post treatment state, it is important to consider the different types of retainers available.
When the braces finally come off, a retainer is there to maintain the tooth structure and stop teeth from shifting. You need to wear your teeth retainer as directed, as neglecting this vital part of the orthodontic procedure could lead to a multitude of negative oral health issues such as crooked teeth and gaps. At first, your retainer may feel strange and uncomfortable in your mouth, and you may even find yourself struggling with a lisp or to speak normally in the initial stages. Don’t be discouraged by this, as within a short space of time these problems will fade away as you gradually become accustomed to your retainer.
Types of Teeth Retainer
Although there are many types of teeth retainer available to you, there are 3 types that are more commonly used than others, these include;
- Essix retainers – made of clear plastic (similar to Invisalign)
- Bonded retainers – which are glued to the back of your teeth
- Hawley retainers –made of metal and acrylic
With an Essix retainer, the less noticeable design and privacy available on offer from clear plastic retainer is preferred by many, due to it being so much less conspicuous than a Hawley retainer. However, Essix retainers do have a shorter life span than others, and on average wear out every few years and need to be replaced. Despite this, an Essix retainer is virtually invisible on the teeth and the only real negatives are trapping liquid against the teeth and not allowing teeth to touch in a natural way.
When it comes to selecting a bonded retainer, it is important to remember that they are completely invisible due to it being bonded to the back of your teeth. Usually, this type of teeth retainer is fitted behind the six front lower teeth, which can make it increasingly difficult to floss efficiently. With a subtle yet invisible structure and the knowledge of not having to remove it constantly, many patients opt for a bonded retainer, but with the chance of tongue irritation, the difficulty of flossing and the potential requirement of dental wax at times; this may not be suited to everyone.
This model of retainer is made of wire and plastic, with the wire going across the front of your teeth, whilst the plastic is moulded to fit the inside of your mouth perfectly. Hawley retainers are highly durable but lack the subtlety of an Essix model, and it is due to this reason that Hawley retainers are used less often these days for anyone other than children. With easy adjustments available from your dentist, easier cleaning and allowing your teeth to touch in a more natural way, it’s hard to see why these retainers aren’t more popular, despite being more noticeable and presenting the chance of a lisp during the initial treatment stage.