Retainer is a device that holds the position of your teeth after orthodontic treatment. Without a retainer, your teeth will gradually shift back towards its original position. For that reason, it is absolutely necessary to wear your retainers if you want to preserve that beautiful smile you paid so much for. There are three types of retainer: Hawley retainer, plastic retainer, and fixed retainer. In this article, we will discuss the differences of each.
– Hawley Retainers: Hawley retainers are basically metal wires that surround your front teeth. It can be a challenge to put them on the first few times, but it gets easier with practice. The benefit of Hawley retainer is that its metal wires can be adjusted. This allows minor movements to be made to fine-tune the result. However, Hawley retainer is bulky and unattractive. If appearance is your major concern, you should consider other types of retainer.
-Plastic Retainers: Plastic retainers are made of clear plastics called polyvinylchloride. They are similar to Invisalign aligners, but they are made stronger to provide longer life expectancy. While plastic retainer is superior in terms of appearance, they are not made to last. They get worn off after a few months. Teeth grinding can further reduce the life expectancy. The benefit of plastic retainer is that they are almost if not completely invisible. So you can wear them anytime during the day without looking awkward.
-Fixed Retainers: Fixed retainers are metal bars bonded on the tongue side of your front teeth. The metal bar is what holds your teeth in place. Generally, lingual bar is only placed on the lower teeth, so it does not retain the position of your upper teeth. It is not removable by the patient, so you will need to visit a dentist if you need to remove it for any reason. While they are invisible, fixed retainers are know to cause some problems. They make brushing and flossing very difficult. Without proper oral hygiene, they can promote plaque growth and lead to cavity or gum diseases (such as periodontitis and gingivitis) Lingual bar is usually prescribed to patients with high risk of reversal shifting, but many patients use them due to its low cost.
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