Retainers After Braces: What to Expect


Once the braces come off, it's important to maintain that beautiful smile. That's why wearing retainers after braces is a regular part of orthodontic care. Your teeth will continue to shift throughout your life, and depending on the extent of the treatment you received, even slight changes could have a negative impact on your bite. Chances are, you'll need a retainer to help keep your teeth straight.

Do You Need a Retainer After Braces?

The period right after braces are removed is called retention. During this time, your teeth will be adjusting quite a bit to their new positions. In order to keep them where they need to be, you'll most likely need a retainer after braces. However, the specifics will differ for each patient.

How Long Do You Wear a Retainer?

The duration is different for everyone. Because your teeth will always try to shift, you may need a retainer for quite a while. Commonly, orthodontists want patients to wear their retainers after braces for at least a year, full-time for about half of that and at night for the other half. That said, night use is often suggested indefinitely. Again, it all comes down to the specific treatment you received, and what is best to retain the results — which will also determine the type of retainer you wear.

The Different Types of Retainers

Mainly, there are two different types of retainers: permanent/fixed and removable. Additionally, there two styles of removable retainers. Whichever your orthodontist feels is right for you will impact how long you wear a retainer. Take a look at the different types of retainers below:

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers involve wires that are bonded to the back of your teeth using cement. They are relatively unobtrusive and easy to maintain through normal brushing and flossing. As the name implies, you may need to keep them on for quite some time.

Wire Retainers

Sometimes called Hawley retainers, these are the traditional devices that many patients think of. Wire retainers are custom molded to fit your mouth using acrylic or plastic, held to the teeth by wires. Since they can be removed at any time, these retainers are easy to clean using a toothbrush or cleaning solution. However, Hawley retainers will still need to be replaced eventually.

Clear Retainers

Also known as Essix retainers, these are customized to fit your teeth perfectly too. Similar to Invisalign braces, clear retainers are removable and nearly unnoticeable, making them a popular and convenient choice for many patients. They are somewhat more prone to wear and a bit more difficult to clean than wire retainers because they have all the intricacies of your teeth.

The other thing to consider with all removable retainers is that they are easy to misplace. Additionally, exposed contact with direct sunlight can warp them, leading to costly replacements. With the proper care though, this can be avoided.

Trust Your Orthodontist's Treatment Plan

Your orthodontist will outline your post-braces treatment with you. Because they know the care you received, they'll discuss retainers after braces in a way that makes sense for you. A retainer will help keep your teeth straight — you don't want those braces to go to waste after all!

Get the Retainer You Need At Beth’s Braces

While retainers after braces may be necessary, they don't have to be unpleasant. At Beth's Braces, we'll do our best to make your experience fun. If you're looking for an orthodontist in Las Vegas, get in touch with us!