Your orthodontist has finally told you that you’re ready to have your braces removed. Your braces-off appointment has been booked! So what are “retainers” that you have to wear once the braces come off?
Retainers are designed to maintain the alignment of the teeth. They come in all different shapes and sizes and your orthodontist will prescribe your retainers according your individual needs.
Retainers can be broadly classified into two groups: removable and fixed.
Removable retainers are exactly what the name suggests: they can be removed from the mouth. Once your braces come off, the orthodontist will usually prescribe 3 days of full time (day and night) wear. After this, you can wear your retainers during night time only. These retainers allow for ease of cleaning and flossing, and there is little maintenance needed. On average, the clear vacuum formed retainers will last 2-3 years, after which time they will need to be replaced.
Fixed retainers are a small piece of wire that is glued to the back of the teeth. In certain cases, fixed retainers are highly recommended. For example, if you started off with a gap between the upper two teeth (called a diastema), a fixed retainer will prevent the gap from opening up again after treatment.
However, fixed retainers do not necessarily guarantee that the teeth will not move.
They are also more cumbersome to clean and require a special floss to be threaded under the wire.
The retention phase is essential to maintain the results of the treatment. At The Smiling Orthodontist, our orthodontist will discuss the retention strategy with you before the braces are placed.
As part of your overall care, we will also see you for 2 years after the braces are removed to ensure your teeth are being retained properly. This will ensure that we keep you smiling!