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What Do Retainers Do?

Written by prositesdentalFeb 27 • 4 minute read

Girl holding large picture of teeth over her face

In the study of orthodontics, part of the efforts to maintain a proper position of the teeth in the jaw is through the support of certain appliances such as a retainer. Retainers can be used to replace missing teeth, keep teeth straight after braces or even improve speech.

Types of Retainers

In orthodontics, the retainer is a custom made and fitted appliances to maintain or hold the position of the teeth after removing the braces, there are different types of retainers which work best in particular situations:

1. Hawley Retainer

Hawley retainer is a thin, long piece of acrylic mold that is fit into the mouth together with a wire that holds the teeth in position. Hawley retainer is a durable, a simple, and an easily removed type of retainer. Hawley retainer is customization for different kind of colors and designs for the plastic arch you desire. Also, it can be adjusted to correct little tooth movements.

2. Clear Angular Retainer

These looks similar to the Invisalign® tray system. These retainers are custom-made of thin, transparent plastic which is designed to fit precisely over the teeth. Their main advantage is that they’re invisible, with no wire to show. These retainers are also easy to remove, but they may be somewhat less durable than the Hawley retainer. They aren’t recommended for patients with certain conditions like teeth grinding.

3. Fixed Retainer

Fixed retainers may be an option for some people, especially for those on the lower front teeth. As their name implies, they are not removable by the wearer, but they are not visible either. This system uses a wire which is bonded to the tongue side of the teeth. It may remain in place for months, or longer. This type of retainer is sometimes recommended when there’s a high risk that teeth could revert to their former position after braces.

4. Wrap Around Retainer

This type of retainer is quite similar to a Hawley retainer, here, the wires are wrapped around the teeth, and the acrylic part uses the soft tissue as their support.

5. Retainer With Spring

Another retainer with an acrylic framework that has a wire attached with a spring, the spring is often added to a retainer for minor tooth movements after orthodontic treatment.

Steps to Wearing Retainers

  1. Decide whether you have a Hawley retainer. This is made of plastic and wires. The plastic piece is formed within your mouth. The wires should fit around the first line of your teeth (for the most part the front six), with more wires in the back to hold it immovably set up over your back teeth
  2. Hold the retainer firmly. The plastic curve in the inside should point up or down toward the column of teeth it will hold up. Ensure the metal strip is pointed far from your mouth.
  3. Place the retainer in your mouth. Ensure it is near the correct column of teeth. Try not to force the retainer to place. Check the situation in a mirror while opening your mouth.
  4. Push the retainer onto your teeth – after placing it inside the mouth, ensure that the plastic part of the retainer fits perfectly into the roof of the mouth, also, ensure that the wire in the front fits perfectly around the front teeth and the wires at the back of the teeth.
  5. Attach the retainer firmly to the back teeth. By using the fingers, the retainers can be pushed into place if the need arises, do not bite the retainer into place, by doing so, it can be damaged. You should hear a sound immediately when it fits into place. But, if it is falling out or not staying in place, you may not have attached it properly to the roof.

How to Clean Orthodontics Retainers

Retainers may be clean by brushing the retainers with some dish cleanser to get rid of bacteria. A couple of different items are accessibly available for simple cleaning. Make a point to check with your orthodontist about your alternatives. Keep in mind that developing microbes on your retainer is the thing that makes the retainer smell, where keeping it clean prevents the smell.

Finally, always ensure that you keep the retainer in the case when it is not being used. You’d be astonished at the number of retainers that end up collapsed in a napkin and unintentionally disposed of! Additionally, don’t wash or soak the retainer in hot/warm water. That can make the retainer twist and make it unusable.

Retainer Placement Procedure

  • Brush and floss your teeth. Expel the syringe top and embed an application tip by bending it safely onto the syringe.
  • Place a little drop of gel into each compartment of the plate for the teeth experiencing treatment.
  • Seat the plate, with the gel around the teeth.
  • Wipe away abundance gel in the mouth with a tissue or delicate dry brush.
  • After treatment, evacuate plate. Wash plate and mouth with tepid water.
  • Brush teeth.

Treatment Guidelines

Wear your blanching plate 1-2 hours per day, or medium-term. Try not to eat, drink or smoke before treatment. Try not to smoke following treatment. Sustenance and beverages containing solid hues should to be avoided for up to 48 hours. Use gel at room temperature. At the point when the gel isn’t being used, store in a cool place.

Benefits of Wearing Removable Retainers

  • Easier to clean your teeth verses perminate retainers
  •  You don’t have to wear it all the time except an initial couple of weeks after your treatment is finished depending on the doctors’ suggestions. 

Disadvantages of Removable Retainers

  • They are easy to loose or misplace
  •  If you do not wear it, then your teeth can become unaligned again. 

Disadvantages of Fixed Retainers

There are some disadvantages of fixed orthodontics retainers:

  • They are not easily cleaned, especially between the teeth that are connected with the orthodontics lingual retainer wire.
  • The lingual retainer wire, especially on the lower anterior teeth, could also lead to gum recession and most times bone loss if it is not cleaned correctly and regularly.

Period of Adjustments

Most of the people adhere and adjust quickly to wearing the retainer. Although many may find out that they produce more saliva than usual after they first wear any type of retainer. You also may find it harder to talk normal at first, but that problem will soon disappear. Removable retainers should always be taken out before you eat or brush your teeth.

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