Retainers may be cumbersome, but they’re the key to preserving the results you’ve achieved after wearing braces. Depending on your age and the type of orthodontic treatment you underwent, you may be recommended one of the following types of retainers:
- Bonded retainer
- Hawley retainer
- Clear plastic retainer
Bonded retainers are attached to your back teeth and can’t be removed without the help of a specialist. Both Hawley and clear plastic retainers are removable retainers. Hawley retainers are made out of a wire that prevents your teeth from shifting back to their initial position, while clear plastic retainers are made out of clear plastic and aren’t as noticeable.
From J. A. Duval, and our expert team at Duval Orthodontics, here’s everything you need to know about retainers.
What is the purpose of a retainer?
Retainers are typically used to maintain the position of teeth after the completion of an orthodontic treatment. Patients with medical conditions such as temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and tongue thrust may also benefit from retainers.
How do retainers work?
Braces use force to push teeth into a different position. While this process happens, the jaw bone near one side of the tooth softens and eventually disappears. Once the tooth has shifted positions, new bone begins growing around the roots of the tooth, stabilizing the tooth.
The process of growing new bone and securing teeth into their new position may take up to a year. During this time, it is crucial to wear retainers so your teeth stay in place while new bone fills in the areas around the roots of your teeth.
Even after the stabilizing process, teeth will continue to shift slowly as time passes. However, you can halt this process by continuing to wear your retainer in the long term.
Wearing a retainer as an adult
It’s more difficult to shift teeth and change the structure of facial bones in adults than in children. Adults have bones that are already developed, so their teeth tend to shift back to their initial positions. For this reason, adults must wear retainers for longer periods.
During the first year after the orthodontic treatment, Dr. Duval will recommend you to wear a retainer for at least 22 hours per day. After that year, he’ll encourage you to continue wearing retainers a couple of nights per week for the rest of your life.
Failure to wear a retainer can undo the results of your orthodontic treatment.
Get your teeth straightened with us
With the help of clear aligners, our staff at Duval Orthodontics can help achieve the smile of your dreams in a discreet manner. After you finish your orthodontic treatment, you can also opt for clear retainers to preserve the results of your treatment.
If you’ve always dreamt of having a straight smile, contact us to schedule an appointment in our offices in Warner Robins and Albany, Georgia.