11 May

What is a Retainer and Why Do I Need One?

Every orthodontic patient is advised to wear a retainer, but what exactly is a retainer and why is it so important?

What exactly is a retainer?

A retainer is an appliance recommended for patients who have had orthodontic treatment to straighten and align the teeth. Retainers are worn to keep the teeth in position and prevent them from slipping and moving. This occurrence is known as relapse. There are different types of retainer available, including fixed and removable versions. Your dentist will recommend the best type of retainer for you based on the kind of treatment you have had and your previous orthodontic prescription.

Types of retainer

We offer four main types of retainer, including:

  • Fixed: a fixed retainer is bonded onto the back of the front teeth and it helps to retain the position of the teeth with maximum discretion. The retainer cannot be seen when you smile, so nobody will know it’s even there. This treatment is slightly limited in that it only protects the front teeth. It’s also more difficult to clean than a removable retainer.
  • Hawley: Hawley retainers are custom-designed removable retainers made from plastic and a metal wire. They are easy to clean and you can take them out when you eat. Usually, patients are advised to wear the retainer during the day and night for the first three months and then just at night after that.
  • Vivera: this form of retainer is compatible with Invisalign treatment. These retainers are custom-made for comfort and they are very light.
  • Essix: these clear, removable aligners offer discretion and convenience and they also work for all the teeth, rather than just those at the front.

Why are retainers so important?

It’s important to wear a retainer to support the teeth and hold them in their new position. If you neglect wearing your retainer, this can contribute to relapse and cause all the good work that has been achieved over the past months or years to be undone.