Orthodontic treatments such as dental braces are used to address problems concerning teeth crookedness, uneven spacing, or improper alignment. The orthodontic braces are placed on teeth to move them into better alignment during a specified timeframe. The degree of teeth misalignment will determine the type of orthodontic treatment to be used, as well as the length of time the treatment needs to successfully straighten the teeth.
How Important are Dental Retainers?
Correct teeth alignment does not end with the completion of the orthodontic treatment. After the appliance is removed from the teeth, the retention phase starts with the use of dental retainers. These appliances are designed to prevent the teeth from going back to their previously crooked or misaligned condition, especially during the retention stage when the teeth and supporting tissues are still not used to their recently-straightened position. Dental retainers should be used strictly following the dentist’s instructions, to get optimal results.
Dental Retainer Types
- Fixed Retainer – As the name suggests, this type of retainer stays firmly in place and is not removable. It is used to ensure that the new and improved alignment of the incisors is maintained. A passive wire is attached to the back portion of the inner teeth to facilitate the teeth alignment retention. Dental hygiene may be challenging for those with fixed retainers because they cannot be removed when brushing the teeth.
- Hawley Retainer – This removable retainer is used to keep newly-straightened teeth in their properly aligned position and may also act as the finishing touches to an orthodontic treatment. A metal wire runs across the front teeth and is attached to an acrylic arch that lies securely against the palate. These removable retainers make tooth brushing easier to manage, compared to keeping teeth cleaned with a fixed retainer.
Vacuform or Invisible Retainer – This retainer covers all the teeth in an arch (the lower or the upper one). Invisible retainers offer a more discreet teeth retention option after an orthodontic treatment, because the plastic material used is nearly invisible. This type of retailer is convenient to use and can easily be removed when eating or brushing the teeth.