Date: April 25, 2014 Richard Jones


Retainers are custom-made dental appliances that are usually used after the removal of braces, dental surgery, or any other procedure that deals with teeth alignment. A retainer ensures that the teeth will help a patient’s gums to adjust better to the changes that were made to the surrounding bone due to the wearing of orthodontic braces or other teeth alignment procedures; the retainers will also control the natural tendency of the teeth to shift even after a teeth alignment procedure.

This is Dentistry will provide you with the information you need about retainer teeth procedures, so you can arm yourself with the necessary knowledge even before you are actually fitted with retainers. The comprehensive This is Dentistry dentist directory will give you access to the contact information of dentists in your local area, who can assist you with any concerns you might have regarding retainers.

Importance of Retainers

After wearing orthodontic braces, there is a tendency for the teeth to shift. Retainers make sure that the teeth do not shift after the orthodontic braces are taken off, ensuring that the patient does not have to wear braces for a second time. A retainer also helps the gum tissue adjust more easily to the changes that have been done on the surrounding bone tissue by the alignment procedure.

It is very tempting to forego wearing the prescribed retainers once the orthodontic braces are taken off; however, it is important to wear these retainers if one does not want to wear braces once again! A clear retainer is a very good option for those who prefer to wear their retainers discreetly, since the clear retainer will not be very visible to others.

Types of Retainers

  • Hawley Retainer- the most common type of retainer, this type is fitted with a metal wire that surrounds the teeth to keep them in place. The metal wire is connected to an acrylic arch that is positioned on the palate. A clear retainer is a form of Hawley retainer, and is preferred by patients because of aesthetic reasons.
  • Essix or Vacuum-Formed Retainer – Made of PVC material, this clear retainer is manufactured from a mold, and fits over the entire teeth arch or just from canine to canine. When a vacuum-formed retainer is worn 24 hours a day, the lower and upper teeth do not touch because the teeth’s chewing surfaces are covered with plastic.
  • Fixed Retainer – This type of retainer usually consists of a passive wire connected or bonded to the incisors’ tongue side. These are the only types of retainers that cannot be removed by the patient; a fixed retainer is suggested in cases when there is a high risk for the patient’s teeth to revert to their original position prior to the orthodontic teeth alignment.


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