Many patients mistakenly believe that when they have their braces removed they are finished with orthodontic treatment. Getting your braces off in Glendale, Arizona is a big step, but it’s only the completion of that phase of orthodontic treatment. The next phase is to retain your teeth in their new position. When your braces come off your dentist will fit you with a retainer. The most common types of retainers in use today are Essix, Hawley, and fixed retainers.
An Essix retainer consists of a sheet of thin plastic that has been custom formed from an impression of your teeth. Its appearance is similar to an Invisalign aligner. Your dentist may recommend that you wear it full time at first, and eventually graduate to only wearing it at night. An Essix retainer needs to be cleaned each day and should be examined frequently for cracks since these will render it ineffective. It should not be cleaned with hot water as this can result in warping or distortion.
Until recently, the most commonly used retainer was the Hawley. It consists of wires attached to an acrylic piece that is custom made to fit in the roof of your mouth. The advantage of the Hawley retainer over the Essix is that it can be adjusted to reposition teeth, if necessary.
Another innovation in teeth retention is the fixed retainer. A fixed retainer consists of a single wire bonded to the backside of the front teeth. Your dentist will decide if you should have a fixed retainer attached to both your upper and lower front teeth, or only the lower teeth. A fixed retainer can be used alone or in conjunction with an Essix retainer. After enough time has passed that your dentist feels comfortable that your teeth are settled into their new position, he may tell you that it’s okay to discontinue using the Essix retainer, but many people keep their fixed retainer for up to twenty years. Teeth have a tendency to try to return to their former position and also a general tendency just to shift around over the years.
Many patients love their fixed retainers because they are invisible to others. The main drawback to a fixed retainer is that it makes it more difficult to floss. Usually a patient will need to use a floss threader to floss those front teeth.
At Aesthetic Dentistry of Arrowhead, Dr. Ceyhan is familiar with the most up to the minute methods of teeth retention and will determine the best type of retainer for you.