Types of Retainers After Braces: A Comprehensive Guide

After months or years of wearing braces, the last thing you’d want to occur is for your teeth to move out of alignment again. That’s where retainers come in. Retainers are orthodontic devices that help maintain the position of your teeth after braces. 

While the type of retainer you need will depend on your situation, here is a guide to the most common types of retainers after braces.

1. Hawley Retainer

The Hawley retainer is one of the most popular types of retainers. It consists of a thin metal wire that runs across the front of your teeth and a plastic or acrylic plate that fits snugly against the roof of your mouth. The wire is adjustable, so your orthodontist can make changes as needed to ensure your teeth stay in place. Moreover, Hawley retainers are durable and can last for years with proper care.

2. Essix Retainer

Essix retainers are clear, removable retainers that fit over your teeth. They are custom-made from a mold of your teeth, so they fit snugly and comfortably. Essix retainers are virtually invisible, making them a popular choice for people who don’t want their retainers to be noticeable. These retainers are also easy to clean and maintain.

3. Fixed Retainer

Also known as a bonded or permanent retainer, a fixed retainer is a thin wire bonded to the back of your teeth. Fixed retainers are typically used for the lower front teeth, as this area is prone to shifting after braces. Unlike removable retainers, fixed retainers stay in place 24/7, so you don’t have to worry about taking them out or losing them. However, they can be more difficult to clean than removable retainers.

4. Clear Aligner Retainer

Clear aligner retainers are similar to Essix retainers, but they are designed to be worn for longer periods of time. They are made from the same clear, removable material as clear aligners, such as Invisalign. Apart from being low-maintenance, clear aligner retainers are also custom-made to fit your teeth and virtually invisible. 

5. Vivera Retainer

Vivera retainers are made by the same company that produces Invisalign clear aligners. Like clear aligner retainers, Vivera retainers are custom-made from a mold of your teeth. They are designed to be durable and long-lasting, and they come with four sets of retainers, so you can replace them as needed. Vivera retainers are also easy to clean and maintain.

6. Begg Retainer

The Begg retainer is a type of Hawley retainer that is used in cases where there is significant crowding or rotation of the teeth. It consists of a wire attached to the front of your teeth and a plastic or acrylic plate that fits against the roof of your mouth. Begg retainers are designed to apply gentle pressure to the teeth to help them move into the correct position.

7. Bonded Lingual Retainer

Similar to a fixed retainer, a bonded lingual retainer is a wire bonded to the back of your teeth. However, the wire is attached to the lingual (tongue-facing) side of your teeth, so it is not visible when you smile. Bonded lingual retainers are typically used for the upper front teeth, as they can be more difficult to clean and maintain than fixed retainers.

The Bottomline

Choosing the right retainer after braces is important to maintain the position of your teeth. Your orthodontist will recommend the kind of retainer that is best for you based on your individual needs. Whether you choose a Hawley retainer, Essix retainer, fixed retainer, clear aligner retainer, Vivera retainer, Begg retainer, or bonded lingual retainer, proper care and maintenance will ensure that your teeth stay in place for years to come.

The Waban Dental Group is a dental office that offers a myriad of dental services, including orthodontics and retainers. Our Newton dentists and orthodontists are dedicated to providing exceptional care and helping you maintain the beautiful smile you’ve achieved through braces. Call us at (617) 527-6061 to schedule a dental appointment!

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