Hawley retainers – this is what many people think of when they think of a retainer. It consists of an acrylic piece that sits on the palate, and a wire that goes across the front of the teeth. These retainers can be personalized with colors, symbols, and even sparkles. If you take proper care of your retainer, it can last many years.
Vacuum formed retainers– these retainers look very similar to Invisalign aligners. There are different brands of these retainers that are growing in popularity. This type of retainer is less noticeable than a Hawley retainer.
Bonded or fixed retainers – these retainers are bonded directly to the back of the teeth and are most often used in patients who may have a high possibility of relapse. They can only be removed by your orthodontist and can last for many years.
It is important to wear your retainer as indicated by your orthodontist and to follow all care instructions.
You may encounter some issues during your time wearing your retainer. Many people call our office because their retainers feel tight. Our first question will always be if you have been wearing it as directed. If you haven’t been, and you’ve skipped a few days or weeks, the retainer may feel tight because your teeth may have shifted. Even a slight shift in the teeth can cause the retainer to feel tight. If you can still place the retainer over your teeth and it isn’t painful, you should resume wearing the retainer regularly. If you cannot fit the retainer over your teeth, call our office to discuss your next steps.
Because most retainers are removable, there is the chance for damage. More than one patient has accidentally thrown their retainer away, or even had theirs eaten by their dog! If this happens, call our office and we will be happy to discuss a replacement. In some instance, if your retainer has been slightly damaged, we may be able to repair it rather than replace it.
If you lose or damage your retainer, call our office as soon as possible to we can repair or replace it before you lose any of the hard work you’ve put in on your smile.
There are pros and cons to each retainer type, just as there are with the different types of orthodontic treatment. Our staff will discuss the different retainer options with you so you can make the choice that’s right for you. You’ll be using the retainer for months and years to come, so be sure you choose the option that will work best for you.