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  • Writer's pictureBelle Mead Orthodontics

Retainers: Keep Your Smile Beautiful After Braces or Aligners

Perhaps it was an underbite, overcrowding, or other dental concerns that led you to book your first orthodontic treatment. Now your braces or aligners are off, and you have the stunning smile you’ve always wanted! But it isn’t over yet. 

To prevent your teeth from going crooked again and preserve your beautiful smile, dental retainers are the way. Read on to learn everything you need to know about retainers after braces or aligners removal. 



What happens after braces removal? 

When braces or Invisalign come off your teeth, your orthodontist will assess the result of the treatment to ensure that everything is as it should be. Now, your straight smile is ready! 


However, treating your dental issues doesn’t mean your teeth won’t return to their original position, undoing all the months and years of hard work. That’s because your teeth continue to move due to the pressure exerted when you eat, talk, or clench them. 


Without the braces or aligners to negate the effect of the pressure, your teeth return to becoming crooked again. If left unchecked, you will likely need orthodontic treatment again. The solution - dental retainers! 


Retainers: preventing teeth movement after braces/aligners

After your orthodontic treatment, you will need to wear a retainer to maintain your straight smile. Your orthodontist will create a custom retainer that fits snugly over your teeth for comfort and effectiveness.   


Regularly wearing your retainer prevents your teeth from moving out of position, so you always have straight teeth. Think of retainers as a way to protect your investment! With retainers, your teeth never go out of alignment, and you can prevent the hassles and costs of future treatments.  


Depending on your needs, your orthodontist will recommend a removable or permanent retainer. 


What are permanent retainers?

Also known as fixed or bonded retainers, permanent retainers are thin wires or metal bars bonded to the inner surface of your upper or lower teeth. They are fixed to the front 6 or 4 teeth using a strong dental adhesive.


Pros of permanent retainers

  • They are fixed to the back of the teeth, making them invisible to others. 

  • You won’t have to remember or forget to wear your retainers as they are always in place. 

  • You can’t lose permanent retainers, as they are fixed to your teeth.

  • They are convenient to use. You don’t have to worry about removing it for cleaning. Simply fix it and forget about it. 

  • They are always in place, reducing the risks of your teeth moving and losing alignment after treatment.


Cons of permanent retainers

  • Food particles can get stuck in the nooks and crannies of the wires, making cleaning difficult. Plaques can build up, and problems like tooth decay and gum disease can arise if you don’t maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine.

  • They can break or become detached if not cared for properly, potentially leading to additional dental appointments. So you have to avoid hard, crunchy foods that can damage them.


What are removable retainers?

As the name implies, removable retainers are not bonded to the teeth. They are made of clear plastic or hooks and wires that can be removed when you want to eat, drink, or clean. 


Pros of removable retainers

  • Since they can be removed, eating, drinking, cleaning, and performing other dental routines is convenient. 

  • You won’t have to avoid eating certain foods since you can take them out while eating.


Cons of removable retainers

  • For retainers to be effective, you have to wear them consistently. This means you have to remember to wear your removable retainers. 

  • Since you can remove them, there is a risk of losing or damaging removable retainers. Aside from the replacement costs, you often have to wait for a replacement, risking teeth shifting. 

  • Some removable retainers are visible. 


Permanent vs. removable retainers: which is the right choice?

You can discuss your personal preferences and lifestyle with your orthodontist to make the right choice. Your orthodontist will also provide guidance based on your specific situation. In some cases, you may have to wear both permanent and removable retainers.


Keep your smile beautiful for life with permanent or removable retainers 

After your orthodontic treatment, we’ll custom-fit you with a permanent or removable retainer so your teeth stay in place. With our retainers, you can enjoy your picture-perfect smile without interruption. Book an appointment today.

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