Orthodontic retainers are important after braces to ensure that your teeth remain straight. Once braces are removed, stretched elastic fibers in the gum try to pull the teeth back to their original position. This is called “orthodontic relapse”. Also, the continued growth of the jaw can mean that teeth will move after braces. Orthodontic retainers guarantee that your teeth remain straight if you wear them for your lifetime.
Professionals-like we here at Forest& Ray- provide every patient with a set of removable retainers which are thin, clear, comfortable gum shields which fit snugly over your teeth to keep them still and in position. Because these retainers- sometimes called Essix Retainers are thin and clear, they are much less conspicuous than the retainers of the past. We custom-make your retainers and provide you with good advice as to when and for how long you must wear them. Chances are, you will only have to wear them at night.
Fixed retainers consist of a thin stainless steel wire, which is permanently bonded behind the front teeth. We usually fit your fixed retainers as soon as your braces are removed, before we take impressions for your removable retainers. Since they can’t be seen and are usually comfortable, you’ll soon forget you have them.
Pros and Cons of Each
So, you may choose to have the fixed or permanent retainers or the removable ones. Why choose fixed braces when the removable ones are so comfortable and inconspicuous? For one, you needn’t bother with the annoyance of continually removing them or remembering to pack them when you go on holiday. And, because of that, you’re not going to lose your fixed retainers. Last, but not least, since they’re always in place 100% of the time, your teeth are less likely to move-even a little with fixed/permanent retainer.
A drawback, however, of fixed/permanent retainers is evident when it comes to daily oral hygiene. Since they are always present, they are a magnet for the build-up of food particles so habits like flossing become crucial. Flossing is already a difficult thing to motivate people to do. Permanent retainers add a little extra time and effort for flossing between the teeth the retainer is attached to. At Forest& Ray, we will teach you how and give you the tools to make it pretty quick, but it will add a little time to your oral care regimen.
So, you can readily see that the removable retainers have an advantage here because, when they are not in your mouth, brushing and flossing is easier and more effective. And with the removable retainers, you may feel more confident in opening your mouth and smiling more. But you must factor in that removable retainers need to be taken out before eating, playing sports, and other activities. This means you may need your case handy- that’s if you haven’t already forgotten it!
The Final Verdict
Keep in mind that wearing retainers is equally important as the orthodontic treatment itself. Whether you choose Fixed or Removable retainers you should feel proud of your decision to follow up your teeth-straightening regimen after braces. Now that you know some of the pros and cons, you can make a more intelligent decision based on your knowledge of your quirks and habits. Whichever way you go, you’re guaranteed a beautiful smile for a lifetime.