Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of your braces treatment! Now you can live the rest of your life with a beautifully straightened, properly aligned smile without having to do anything to maintain it. Right? As much as you might wish that were true, that’s not how it works. You’ll need to use a retainer to keep the results of your braces treatment. So what are your options for retainers?
Hawley retainers are made from metal and acrylic. They’re custom-made to perfectly fit the top of your mouth with the metal wire sitting across the front of your teeth. One of the benefits of this type of retainer is its adjustability, which allows Dr. Carver to make small adjustments to your teeth. It’s also easy to clean and can last a long time if you take good care of it. The downsides to Hawley retainers are that they are quite noticeable and may cause you to have a bit of a lisp at first.
If you want a retainer with a more subtle appearance, the Essix retainer may be a good option. Because they’re made from clear plastic, Essix retainers look a lot like Invisalign aligners. In fact, they’re practically invisible. On the other hand, they don’t allow your top and bottom teeth to touch naturally and can wear out after a few years. You’ll also need to take extra care when cleaning them, especially the interior surfaces. They have a tendency to trap liquids against the teeth, which can be a problem especially if your teeth and retainers aren’t kept very clean.
Some people may have a hard time remembering to replace their retainers after removing them. For these people, fixed retainers offer a solution. Because the retainer is bonded to the backs of the teeth, they are invisible to others, are quite effective, and you’ll never need to worry about misplacing them or forgetting to put them back in. They do make keeping your teeth well cleaned more difficult though. You’ll need a floss threader in order to properly floss your teeth each time. You may also want to keep some dental wax on hand since the metal can be initially uncomfortable against your tongue.
You have options when it comes to keeping the results of your braces. Whether your best option is to go with a Hawley retainer, an Essix retainer, or a fixed retainer, it’s always a good idea to know what the pros and cons of the different options are. If you ever have questions about which one is best for you, remember that you can always talk to Dr. Carver to get the answers you need.
Ready for an appointment to get your new retainer? Click here for downloadable copies of Stellar Family Orthodontics’ patient forms so you’ll be ready to go before you even walk in the door.