A retainer is a personalized oral appliance provided after you have completed orthodontic treatment. After your teeth have been properly aligned, it is important that you wear a retainer to help them remain in their correct alignment. This promotes optimal oral health and function as well as aesthetics. Without a retainer, your teeth will gradually move back into their previous, incorrect alignment.
There are several types of retainers available, each with their own unique characteristics and benefits:
- Hawley Retainers: Hawley retainers are composed of a plastic body that either covers the roof of the mouth (for upper arch) or lies along the tongue-side of the teeth (for the lower arch). These retainers incorporate wires and clasps that secure them in place by wrapping around specific teeth and utilizing wire arches across the front to maintain alignment.
- Clear Retainers: Clear retainers are constructed from transparent plastic materials that fit snugly over the teeth. These retainers are generally more inconspicuous compared to Hawley retainers, though they may not be as durable.
- Fixed Retainers: Also known as bonded or permanent retainers, these are affixed permanently to the backside of the front teeth. Fixed retainers effectively prevent teeth from shifting out of their proper positions and can only be removed by a dental professional.
- Spring Retainers: Spring retainers are designed with a wire spring in the middle, which allows the retainer to place pressure on the teeth when it is worn. A spring retainer is not only used for “retention” of your smile, but can also be used to correct minor shifting and maintain ideal tooth spacing.
Our experienced dentists will assess your post-orthodontic treatment needs and advise you on whether a retainer is necessary for maintaining your newly aligned smile.
For more information about retainers in Gaithersburg, Maryland, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Adam Schneider, Dr. Katie Staub or Dr. Ekpa Eyoma, call or text Schneider Family Dentistry today at 240-654-3555. We are committed to helping you preserve your beautiful smile.