Understanding A Few Different Orthodontic Retainer Options

Posted on: 28 June 2019

If you are just finishing up the tooth straightening process with your orthodontist, then you will probably be fitted with a retainer. There is a variety of retainers that your orthodontist may choose from. Keep reading to learn about two of the choices available and their benefits.

Wire Retainer

The wire retainers or the Hawley variety are the most familiar retainers that you will see. These devices feature a wire attached to an acrylic base. The wire sits over the front area of the teeth while the base rests on the palate. Wire loops or clasps are also included to hold the retainer in place along the molars or cuspids. 

Like almost all retainers, the wire ones are custom-made to fit your mouth. They are high-quality and will last much longer than some other types of retainers. The wire position also allows the teeth to move a small amount in a way that feels natural. However, you should know that sometimes the teeth can move a bit too much due to the freedom allowed by the wire. So, make sure that you speak to your orthodontist if you feel as though your bite feels uncomfortable or if it feels off for some reason.

Tightening is possible with the wire retainer where other options are not adjustable. This is beneficial if tooth movement is noted. Otherwise, braces may need to be placed back on the teeth, which is something that most people want to avoid.

Clear Retainer

While you may be extremely familiar with the wire retainer, you are more likely to be given a clear plastic retainer. These retainers are the virtually invisible ones that cradle and cover the teeth. This allows for less movement, and it is best in situations where your orthodontist thinks that your teeth may start to migrate once your braces are removed. 

Clear retainers are made from acrylic materials. The retainers are still custom-made, but they are much cheaper than wire varieties due to this use of the inexpensive acrylic. This means that they are also much more cost-effective to replace if you happen to lose a set. The retainers are also more comfortable to use since there are no metal parts to scrape the cheeks or the gums.

One drawback to the retainers is the fact that the clear color makes them easy to lose or misplace. So, you need to be careful when taking them out of the mouth to eat by setting them in your dedicated retainer case.