Braces OFF! You finally have the perfect smile you wanted. Now what? Keep that smile in place with your retainers!

Retainer symbol

How do Retainers work?

Your teeth are especially susceptible to shifting back to their original positions in the first year after your braces have been removed. That is why we custom-make retainers which wrap around your teeth to hold them in place. Retainers should be worn all the time for the first 6 months, and thereafter at night minimally to stop your teeth from shifting out of position. Even after removing your braces, we hope to periodically review your retainers and the alignment of your teeth.

What are the different types of retainers?

1. Removable retainers — These retainers can be removed for eating, brushing, contact sports, or whenever you feel like showing off your beautiful smile!

  • Aesthetic plastic retainers — The plastic retainer is customised to fit snugly over all your teeth. Most patients prefer the Essix retainer as they are cost-effective, completely clear, and the most comfortable.

  • Metal retainers — Also known as the Hawley retainer, it has a thin bendable metal wire that stretches across your front teeth to hold them in place. As this retainer is more noticeable, it may not preferred if you are eager to show off your new smile. The upside is that the Hawley retainer lasts longer before needing to be replaced. New wearers may take a short while to adapt to the retainer because of the plastic covering the roof of the mouth.

2. Fixed/bonded retainers — A fixed retainer consists of a thin bendable metal wire which is permanently bonded behind the front teeth. Fixed retainers are unobtrusive and you will quickly forget they’re even there. What is needed is extra attention to brush and clean the areas near the wire. Don’t worry, we will show you the best brushing techniques.

Bonded retainer, courtesy of Dear Doctor, Inc.

Bonded retainer, courtesy of Dear Doctor, Inc.

Which is the right retainer for me?

The choice will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of misalignment of your teeth prior to treatment, how much your teeth moved while wearing braces as well as your personal preferences. At Align Braces Clinic, our dentists will work closely with you to help you decide which retainer is best for you.

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