“RETAIN” The Esthetics Of Your Beautiful Smile and Straight Teeth
Post-Orthodontic Care With Retainers
What is a Dental Retainer?
Braces move your teeth and bring them in a straight position for the course of the treatment. When you’re off the braces, there is nothing to prevent your new teeth from relapsing to their previous place. This is where the next phase of your orthodontic treatment begins- the retention phase. Retention is a follow-through stage where the patient wears an orthodontic device called a retainer.
As the name suggests, Dental Retainer is a custom-made device designed to be put over the teeth to ensure the teeth lock in their perfect position after the corrective treatment. The teeth are not entirely settled in their new position, and everyday activities like eating, chewing, and any pressure-inducing activity to the teeth can move them from their location.
Basically, retainers support keeping your teeth in their corrected position and “reminding” them of their new position once the braces are removed.
At Mellion Orthodontics, the orthodontic retainer is custom-made depending on your treatment and orthodontist’s recommendation to fit the unique need of your mouth.
Why Do You Need To Wear Retainers?
Nothing in the human body remains constant, body and your teeth are no exception. An orthodontist prescribes retainers to patients after the active treatment has been completed in order to maintain the teeth in the proper position while the bone settles over time.
In medical terms, the teeth are located within the jawbone and surrounded by the periodontal ligament. The periodontal ligament has elastic properties that causes the teeth to to revert to their original position once the orthodontic forces are removed. That is why we recommend retainers be worn properly after the braces are removed.
So, retainers serve to fix the teeth from shifting over time. Hence, to keep your smile looking beautiful and to keep your teeth in place, the orthodontists at Mellion Orthodontics strongly recommend wearing orthodontic retainers.
Types of Retainers Offered At Mellion Orthodontics
In orthodontics there are three basic retainers designs. While we offer all three to our patients, we customize the retainer choice to compliment the type of orthodontic treatment for each patient. Each patient will have an unique retainer protocol to match their unique smile!
Permanent Retainer/Lingual Wire
A permanent retainer or lingual wire is a thin wire (usually made of surgical-grade stainless steel or titanium) installed by the orthodontist. It is glued to the backside of the top and/or bottom front teeth (depending on your orthodontic treatment in order to hold them in their position and stop them from moving. It is not actually “permanent” and can be removed by your orthodontist. The estimated cost of a permanent retainer can range from $150 to $500 for one arch. The severity of your case is the defining factor for the cost of your retainer.
Advantages of Permanent Retainer
- Entirely invisible
- Minimally impacts speech
Disadvantages of Permanent Retainer
- Difficult to keep clean
- Very easily damaged, and sometimes difficult to determine if damaged
- We still recommend a removable retainer to wear
A Hawley retainer is a combination of plasticacrylic and a stainless-steel wire custom-made to fit the roof or floor of the mouth.The wire runs along the outside of the teeth. They are very effective at maintaing tooth alignment. Since they’re removable, they’re also convenient and easy to use.
Hawley retainer’s estimated cost is between $150 and $340.
Advantages of Hawley Retainer
- Custom-made according to the patient’s mouth
- Partially adjustable
- Plastic color can be custom-selected by the patient
- Durable and resistant to staining
- Removal for easy cleaning, eating, and oral care
- Can last over 10 years if properly maintained
Disadvantages of Hawley Retainer
- Not invisible when worn
- Requires relatively frequent cleaning
Essix Retainer- Clear Plastic Retainer
An Essix-style Retainer is a clear plastic custom-made retainer that sits perfectly over the teeth. These plastic retainers are made for top and bottom teeth and custom-fitted by the orthodontist. The cost of an Essix retainer ranges from $150 to $600 for one set.
Advantages of Essix Retainer- Clear Plastic Retainer
- Removable for eating or maintaining oral hygiene
- Close to invisible to others
- Holds the teeth firmly in their place
Disadvantages of Essix Retainer- Clear Plastic Retainer
- Will need to be replaced every 1 or 2 years
- Can easily discolor or crack
How Long Do You Need To Wear Orthodontic Retainers?
Wearing braces is often a slow process that can last up to 12 to 24 months, depending on the initial severity, with regular visits to the office where the braces are adjusted. After you’re done with braces, the orthodontist immediately switches you to a retainer worn for 12 to 24 months or longer based on the oral condition to keep the teeth straight. For the first three months, it is advisable to wear the retainer for 20+ hours, and subsequently, the hours decrease with time. Your orthodontist will guide you through the duration of the retainer period.
We recommend that our patients continue to wear their retainers for as long as possible, essentially, making it a part of their nighttime oral routine. Routine follow-up with your dental practitioner is also essential in your retainer phase.
Do Orthodontic Retainers Work?
How Much Do Dental Retainers Cost?
Can I Eat and Speak Comfortably While Wearing a Retainer?
For How Long I Must Wear My Retainer?
TRANSFORM YOUR SMILE
Schedule a Visit
To set up a visit with our orthodontists, complete and submit this form. Our scheduling coordinator will then contact you to confirm your consultation.
Please note this form is for requesting an appointment. If you need to cancel or reschedule an existing appointment, or if you require immediate attention, please contact our practice directly by calling us.