Different Kinds of Retainers: Which Option is Right for You?

Different Kinds of Retainers: Which Option is Right for You?

December 4, 2023  |  Orthodontic Treatment, Retainers
An orthodontist working. The text reads, "Different Kinds of Retainers: Which Option is Right for You?"

You take your oral health seriously. You want teeth that are not only functional for chewing, but you also want teeth that sit comfortably in your mouth and flash a dazzling smile. This is why you sought orthodontic care because you understand the relationship between healthy teeth and a healthy life.  

But just because your braces have come off, that doesn't mean your oral care is finished. Braces move your teeth into a straight and comfortable alignment, but your body wants to put your teeth back into the position they were in before. Because of this, after braces, you will need a retainer to keep your teeth in their new position.  

There are many different types of retainers available, just like there are many kinds of braces. Some retainers need to be worn all the time and others only need to be worn at night. Because there are several different retainer options, you and your orthodontist can work together to figure out which option is best for you.  

In this post, we will discuss why you need retainers for your teeth and some of the different retainer options available to you. Keep reading to learn more! 


Why Do I Need a Retainer for My Teeth? 


After undergoing orthodontic treatment to achieve a straight and aligned smile, it is essential to wear a retainer. A retainer is a custom-made dental appliance that helps maintain the new position of your teeth. It is typically worn for a specified period, usually several months or even longer, depending on your orthodontist's recommendation. 

Not wearing a retainer can lead to a relapse, where your teeth gradually shift back to their original positions. This can occur due to the natural tendency of teeth to move throughout our lives, influenced by factors such as natural growth and the pressure exerted by our tongues and lips. Without the regular use of a retainer, the teeth may revert to their pre-treatment state, undoing all the progress made during orthodontic treatment. 

The consequences of not wearing a retainer can be both aesthetic and functional. Aesthetically, the teeth may become crooked or misaligned again, affecting the appearance of your smile. Functionally, misaligned teeth can lead to bite problems, difficulty in chewing, and increased stress on certain teeth, potentially leading to dental issues such as tooth wear, gum problems, and even speech difficulties. 

Neglecting to use a retainer can also result in the need for additional orthodontic treatment to correct the relapse. This can be both time-consuming and expensive, necessitating another round of braces or aligners to realign the teeth. 

What are some common misconceptions about orthodontics? Learn more in this blog! 

A display of a mouth and a retainer

What are the Benefits of Different Types of Retainers? 


Different types of retainers offer various benefits depending on the individual's needs and preferences. The right retainer for you is often the one that suits your lifestyle and gets the best, most sustainable results.  

Let's look at a few retainer options for you offered by Shine Orthodontics.  


Clear Plastic Retainers 


One of the main advantages of clear plastic retainers is their transparency. Unlike traditional metal retainers, clear plastic retainers are practically invisible when worn, making them a more aesthetically pleasing option for individuals concerned about the appearance of their smile. 

In addition to their discreet appearance, clear plastic retainers are also highly comfortable. They are designed to fit snugly over the teeth, providing a smooth and comfortable fit. This is especially beneficial for patients who find traditional metal retainers uncomfortable or irritating. 

Furthermore, clear plastic retainers allow for easy maintenance of oral hygiene. Unlike fixed retainers, which can trap food particles and make brushing and flossing more challenging, clear plastic retainers can be easily removed for cleaning. This helps prevent the buildup of plaque and maintains oral health.  


Fixed Retainers 


Fixed retainers are a popular option for maintaining teeth alignment after orthodontic treatment. Unlike removable retainers, fixed retainers are bonded to the back of the teeth using a dental adhesive, ensuring they stay in place and provide continuous support. 

One of the key features of fixed retainers is their durability. Made from a strong and sturdy wire, they are designed to withstand the everyday pressures of biting and chewing. This means that patients can go about their daily activities without the worry of damaging or losing their retainer. 

In addition to their durability, fixed retainers offer the benefit of convenience. Once bonded to the teeth, they require no daily effort from the patient. There is no need to remember to put on or remove the retainer, as it stays in place 24/7. This makes fixed retainers a practical option for individuals who may forget to wear or misplace removable retainers. 

Moreover, fixed retainers provide a discreet solution for maintaining teeth alignment. Since they are attached to the back of the teeth, they are virtually invisible to others, allowing patients to confidently smile and speak without any self-consciousness. 


Hawley Retainers 


Hawley retainers are a type of removable retainer that is commonly used to retain teeth after orthodontic treatment. They consist of a plastic acrylic base that fits against the roof of the mouth or the bottom of the mouth, with wire clasps that wrap around specific teeth to hold them in place. 

One of the main advantages of Hawley retainers is their adjustability. The wire clasps can be adjusted by the orthodontist to apply the right amount of pressure to keep the teeth in their desired position. This makes Hawley retainers a flexible option for individuals whose teeth may continue to shift slightly after treatment. 

Another advantage of Hawley retainers is their durability. The acrylic base and wire clasps are designed to withstand daily wear and tear, making them a long-lasting option for retaining teeth. Additionally, if the retainer gets damaged, it can be easily repaired or adjusted by the orthodontist. 

Proper care and cleaning are essential for maintaining the hygiene and effectiveness of Hawley retainers. Firstly, they should be removed before eating to prevent damage. They should be cleaned using a soft toothbrush and mild soap or denture cleaner. It is important to avoid using hot water, as it can warp the plastic material. Additionally, storing the retainers in their provided case when not in use can protect them from damage and prevent loss. 

Is your retainer too tight? Check out this blog for information on what to do and how to solve the problem! 

A person putting a retainer in their mouth.

Orthodontic Care You Can Count on From Shine Orthodontics 


Your oral health matters. That includes having a mouth free from pain and teeth that are properly aligned and can properly chew your food. After braces, retainers are the next step to ensure that your teeth remain healthy, straight, and strong.  

At Shine Orthodontics, we understand the importance of a comfortable retainer that suits your lifestyle. Because of that, we offer three distinct options that may be right for you.  

If you are looking for a new retainer or orthodontic care in Chillicothe, Maineville, or Lebanon, Shine Orthodontics is here for you. Click here to schedule an appointment today! 

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