Types of Retainers After Orthodontics
Finally, all those months (or maybe years) of changing elastics or Invisalign trays is finally over. Your once misaligned teeth, with spacing or crowding, are now all nice and straight! You can’t help showing off your new pearly white smile, while having the world smile back at you. Although your active orthodontic treatment may be over, what do you have to do now to keep you teeth straight forever? That’s when Retainers come in! If you do not wear your retainers as advised by your dentist, your teeth can shift, even when you’re an adult. Thus, the retention phase is just as important as the active orthodontic treatment phase. So there are a few different retainer options; lets discuss!
Hawley Appliance (Removable)
One of the more commonly used retainers is the Hawley retainer. Made popular by Hollywood movies, Hawley retainers are the quintessential post-orthodontic retainers that are made for patients. With the famously pink coloured acrylic covering with the silver metal wires spanning the front of the teeth, when worn, these retainers prevent movement of teeth. They are comfortable, sturdy, and are removable. Typically worn during nighttime only, these retainers are a great and reliable option. Although having a removable retainer does allow for easier brushing and flossing, if the retainer is not worn, then teeth will shift!
Essix Appliance (Removable)
Another type of retainers that patient use after orthodontics is an Essix retainer. Like the Hawley appliance, Essix retainers are removable. They require the patient to regularly wear the appliance, and to care for it. These lightweight materials are used to ensure comfort. When not worn, these retainers are to be placed in a container to prevent damage. Cleaning the retainers are to be done gently and carefully to prevent breakage.
Lingual Wire (Non-Removable)
A non-removable solution for retention is a lingual wire. These are bonded behind the front upper and lower teeth. For those of us who are non-compliant, forgetful, and maybe a little lazy (you know who you are!), these wires are a great solution to prevent teeth from moving. Because they are not removed, patients do not have to remember to put them on/take them off. However, its presence increases the accumulation of plaque and tartar buildup. So home care oral hygiene is imperative. Furthermore, if the wire debonds on one or more teeth, those teeth will shift. Immediate dental attention is required to rebond.