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What are retainers?

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The time has come and it will definitely be very exciting to finally get your braces off and move into the retainer stage. A retainer keeps your teeth in place after your braces come off. It takes almost a year for the periodontal ligaments o solidify into their new positions after your braced are removed. That’s why it is suggested to follow the orthodontists directions. If you slack off or stop wearing it, your teeth could shift and get crooked again or gaps can open up. At first your retainer may feel uncomfortable or strange in your mouth, but eventually you get used to it. You may experience some gagging or sticking but that would only suggest you to tell your orthodontist so adjustments can be made to your comfortability.

Types of Retainers:

1. Hawley Retainers: Made of metal and acrylic. This type of retainer is made of bendable wire and acrylic or plastic. The wire goes across the front of your teeth, and the acrylic is molded to fit perfectly inside your mouth. Hawley retainers are available in a large variety of colors and styles, so you can have a little fun with them by adding sparkles or patterns. This type of retainer is adjustable so that your orthodontist can “tweak” your teeth a little bit after braces.

Pros – Adjustable. Allows teeth to touch in a natural way. Lasts a long time with proper care. Easy to clean.
Cons – It is very noticeable. You might lisp at first when wearing it.

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2. Essix Retainer: made of Clear Plastic ( they look like invisalign aligners). This type of retainer is made of molded clear plastic and resembles an Invisalign aligner. People like this type of retainer because it is less noticeable than a Hawley retainer. However, it doesn’t allow your top and bottom teeth to touch in a natural way. Because of this, some orthodontists don’t like this type of retainer. Essix retainers also have a shorter lifespan than Hawley retainers. On average, they begin to wear out after a few years, and then need to be replaced.

Pros – Virtually invisible on the teeth.
Cons – Does not allow the teeth to touch in a natural way. Wears out after a few years. Can be difficult to keep the interior surfaces clean. Traps liquid against the teeth.

No matter what type of retainer you have, you will end up with that million dollar smile at the end of the day 😉 Keep smiling!

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