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There is nothing quite like waiting for your braces to come off, particularly after waiting for months or even years—no more uncomfortable, tight feeling in your teeth. No more things getting stuck in your braces. Most of all, no more misaligned teeth! But to keep your straightened teeth in place, you'll need to wear a retainer.

What Are The Types Of Retainers I Can Use?

Removable Retainers

The Hawley retainer, named after its inventor Dr. Charles A. Hawley, is the most common type of removable retainer. This metal-wire retainer encloses the six anterior teeth. When necessary, two omega loops are employed to integrate it and then adjust it for any tiny movements of the anterior teeth.

Hawley retainers are strong, simple to construct, and can add a prosthetic tooth or teeth even though they are not visually pleasant. However, when it comes to keeping the lower incisors in place, these retainers are less successful than other retainers.

A different kind of retainer is vacuum-formed to accommodate the entire tooth curve. This kind of orthodontic device looks similar to a transparent aligner. Therefore, it is advisable to wear retainers even at night.

A vacuum-formed type is less expensive, less noticeable, and easier to wear. On the other hand, patients who grind their teeth should avoid using this type because it is prone to breaking and deterioration.

Fixed Retainers

On the other hand, fixed ones can be multi-strand, fixed canine, canine, or reinforced fibers. Multi-strand retainers are attached to each tooth of the labial segment and utilize acid-etch composite or composite resin bonding.

The most recommended kind is a multi-strand fixed type. Fixed canine can result in a relapse of the incisors. Meanwhile, a reinforced fiber is more susceptible to fracture.

How Long Should I Wear My Retainer?

Your situation and your dentist's advice will determine how long you should wear your retainer. For example, you might have to wear your retainer 24 hours each day except when cleaning for three to six months. After that, it could only happen at night for approximately a year.

Consult your orthodontist and go through your treatment plan.

How Can I Take Care Of My Retainer?

Orthodontic retainers must be sterile and clean. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar attach themselves to the retainer. Therefore, cleaning the retainer after removing it from the mouth is essential. When debris hardens, the cleaning process will be more challenging.

Brushing the retainer is good. However, to eliminate any bacteria that brushing could have missed, it is a good idea to soak your retainer in a cleanser every day.

Additionally, be careful with the cleaning agent you use. Ensure the product is not abrasive, as this could harm the retainer. If calcium deposits remain stuck to the retainer after brushing or soaking it, you should consult your orthodontist to help you address the issue.

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