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Retainers are most commonly prescribed after the recommended treatment period for braces. Your orthodontist will remove the braces and give you a retainer to wear for a prescribed time. The retainer helps keep your teeth from moving back to their original position.
What to Expect
Retainers hold teeth in their new positions after “active” orthodontic treatment is completed. This allows newly formed bone to harden around the teeth.
1. Removable Retainers
Removable retainers are clear, thin, slightly flexible, and made of a plastic-like material, similar to clear aligners. They fit the exact shape and placement of the teeth. Wearing removable retainers as instructed is the key to maintaining the success of orthodontic treatment. Patients may be advised to wear retainers full-time for the first six months after “active” treatment ends, with subsequent wear time reduced to night-time only. When not in the mouth, removable retainers should be kept in the case provided by the orthodontist.
2. Fixed Retainers
Fixed retainers consist of a thin stainless-steel wire bonded behind the teeth. Fixed retainers are unobtrusive and most patients forget they are there. Fixed retainers ensure that the teeth are properly held in place at all times and reduce the chance of an “orthodontic relapse.”