A retainer is a custom-made oral appliance that is designed to hold your teeth in their new positions after orthodontic work has been completed. There are a number of different types of retainers available, so talk to your dentist about which type is best for you! A retainer is typically worn during the nighttime but can also be worn during the day in some cases.

Types of retainers

  • Fixed Retainers: These are the most common type of retainers. They are made of wires and acrylic resin. This type of retainer is permanently bonded to the back of your teeth.
  • Removable Retainers: This is the most common type of retainer used before fixed appliances are put in. It is made of plastic and comes in a number of different sizes. This type of retainer is removable and can be cleaned easily.
  • Essix Retainers: This is a transparent plastic retainer that looks like a mouth guard. This type of retainer is often used for minor cases of crowding or spacing.
  • Hawley Retainers: This kind of retainer is made of an acrylic body with wire on the front to connect it to your molars. The back portion is shaped like a horseshoe to fit your mouth comfortably.

When are retainers used?

Retainers are used to maintain the results or progress that was made after a procedure, such as braces or Invisalign treatment. Teeth naturally shift over time, so wearing a retainer will prevent teeth from shifting back to their original position. Wearing retainers also keeps the newly created smile intact while the surrounding tissue and bone adjust to the new tooth positions.

While patients no longer wear their retainers after orthodontic treatment, they still require them until their teeth have fully settled into their new positions. Depending on the type of procedure, patients may need to wear their retainers for a specified amount of time every night for months or even years. Depending on the patient and the extent of correction needed, this period may be shorter or longer. After retention is complete, some patients will still need to continue to wear the retainer nightly to prevent relapse of the orthodontic correction. These patients are said to have “retainer-dependent” occlusions.

What would happen if you do not use a retainer?

Patients that do not wear a retainer may notice that their teeth begin to shift slightly with time. This may cause some of the results of orthodontic treatment to be lost over the years. However, not wearing the retainer does not mean that orthodontic treatment will not work. It just means that the patient will need to go through the entire process again to achieve their desired results.

Patients who do not wear their retainer properly may also experience some side effects. Some signs that this is happening include difficulty chewing and speaking, as well as jaw discomfort.

To find out more about the dental services offered at our dental practice, call (801)- 269-0303 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 155 E 13800 S Ste F4, Draper, UT, Draper 84020.