As might be suggested by the name itself, the purpose of a post-treatment retainer is to retain the benefits of braces or other orthodontic treatments long into the future. Whether you have recently had your Clarity Advanced Braces or Damon System Braces removed, or have recently finished your Invisalign treatment, you will want to retain all the benefits and preserve your new smile.
It is important to continue your orthodontic plan and continue to follow Dr. Roeder’s advice post-treatment. In many cases, Dr. Roeder will recommend the use of removable retainers to keep teeth from shifting back, and to continue any minor corrections of the bite.
Types of Retainers
While there are a number of permanent retainers (both banded and bonded) designed mainly to continue ongoing corrections, removable retainers are also available to prevent orthodontic relapse (with teeth returning to positions of malocclusion). Roeder Orthodontics offers a complimentary program, Roeder Retainer University (RRU) which offers visits at 3, 6, and 12 months post-treatment. These no-cost ‘retainer check’ visits are short appointments which allow you and Dr. Roeder to monitor post-treatment progress and retainer wear to ensure teeth are not shifting out of harmonious alignment.
Again, as suggested by the name itself, removable retainers can be removed and replaced at the convenience of the patient, but this benefit can also be a drawback, depending on the willingness and compliance of the patient with recommendations. Being removable means that the retainers may be lost or damaged, or just not worn according to Dr. Roeder’s recommendations.
Removable retainers come in two variations: the Hawley (or wire) retainers, and the Essix (or clear) style retainers.
The granddaddy of retainers that everyone would be familiar with, Hawley retainers are composed of a plastic body which fits against the roof of the mouth or below the tongue, anchor wire clasps that align to back teeth, and a bow wire that runs along the front of the teeth to maintain alignment. While it is only the front bow wires that are visible in both upper and lower mouth Hawley retainers, this visibility can bother some patients, and the thickness of the plastic body of the retainer (particularly behind the upper front teeth) can interfere with regular speech.
Clear (or Essix) retainers are made using vacuum-formed clear plastic (about the thickness of a bank card) that fully covers the teeth, and can be made right in the office! After an impression is taken of the patient’s teeth, a plaster cast is then formed, and a thin sheet of plastic is heated and vacuum-molded to the perfect individual shape. This allows Dr. Roeder to customize the retainer as necessary, with the option to fully cover the upper or lower teeth, or even just a grouping of some teeth, as necessary.
Invisalign patients will already be familiar with this type of appliance, and Align Technology Inc produce their own Essix appliance called Vivera Retainers.
Advantages of Clear Retainers
While it is important to understand that different treatment options will be more beneficial for some patients than others, and to trust the recommendations of Dr. Roeder in your own treatment, there are many benefits to clear retainers post-treatment, including:
- Very discrete when worn, with no unsightly wires or protrusions, clear retainers can often prove quite unnoticeable
- Being fully removable, clear retainers do not interfere with oral hygiene in any way as braces or other fixed appliances and treatments can
- Essix appliances interfere with natural speech less than Hawley-style retainers
- Hold well to the teeth and can correct minor tooth movements, and protect the teeth while sleeping
- Can be removed at any time, for social functions, school photos, or even a night out on the town!
For any questions about retainers or any other orthodontic treatment, you can call Roeder Orthodontics on 828-274-2500 or send us a message anytime to schedule a complimentary consultation at our office in Asheville, NC.