For many people, repairing crooked or misaligned teeth may range anywhere from slightly aesthetic to absolutely necessary when it comes to having dental work done. Depending on the treatment plan, you could be in braces anywhere from six months to over three years. For significant over or under bites that could affect how we eat or even speak, restoring our teeth may be life-changing and something we may want to keep for a long time. Even with something as basic as straightening up a few slightly crooked incisors, we expect our investment to last for a while. That is why Geelan Dental Care understands the importance of retainers when it comes to maintaining our dental work.
What Are Retainers Used For?
There is usually a period of adjustment after orthodontic treatment where your mouth will need to get used to where your teeth were moved. During this time, it is essential to wear a dental aligner to hold your teeth in the ideal position. For something like traditional metal braces, which can take a few years to align your teeth properly, there is less risk of them shifting back too quickly because of how gradual it is. With modern technology, however, some treatments may even help you realign your teeth in as few as six months. The speed in which they are moved makes it quite necessary to wear an aligner to ensure they do not return to their original positions.
What Types of Retainers Are Available?
One of the more popular methods of ensuring alignment in the final stages of your orthodontic treatment is often the same design which can be used to align your teeth in the first place. They are 3D molded and practically invisible, custom-fitted to your mouth for comfort, which is why they are usually favored over the other types. They are the exact shape of your teeth, which means it can be just as difficult to clean the same nooks as you have in your mouth. Because it is made of plastic, however, you may need to have it replaced when you notice it starting to wear down.
For some, they may appreciate the convenience that comes with having a permanent retainer attached to their teeth. Lingual, bonded, or fixed wire retainers are the least visible of the methods available because they are applied to the backs of the teeth. If you are the sort of person who may misplace their retainer if they have to take it out, this may be the best option for you. They are easy to take care of because they can be cleaned whenever you brush your teeth. You will still need to maintain optimal oral hygiene, however, because the wires can be especially prone to plaque.
The most well-known type is known as the Hawley retainer and is probably what you picture when someone mentions having a retainer. They are composed primarily of wire and plastic, which is custom-molded to your mouth to ensure a good fit. Many may not want to resort to another type of braces so soon after having their orthodontic work removed, however.
Retainers are an excellent method of maintaining your smile, and it is our goal here at Geelan Dental Care to ensure you have one for many years to come. For more information about retainers and how they may benefit you after your orthodontic treatment, please give us a call at (971) 323-1990 and we will be happy to answer your questions.