What Types of Retainers Are Available?
There are two types of retainers for after braces: fixed and removable. Your orthodontist will work with you to help identify which type of retainer your child needs. Some dental issues may require particular retainers, and some retainers can be more high-maintenance than others.
Fixed Retainers: The fixed type of retainer is usually a thin wire worn across the back of the lower or upper front teeth, which bonds in place with a cement similar to that applied on braces' brackets. Because this type of wire stretches across several teeth, a floss threader or similar cleaning device must be used to access the spaces between the teeth, which is similar to how people with braces have to floss. Even though this type of retainer takes a little more work to keep clean, it has the best outcome because the bonded wire will hold the newly straightened teeth in perfect formation.
Removable Retainers: The removable type of retainers are made for the upper and lower teeth and fit each arch made with acrylic and a wire placed across the teeth. Since it is removable, this type of dental retainer makes it easier to clean your teeth, but the patient has to remember to wear it daily. Your orthodontist will instruct you to wear your dental retainers. They may have you wear them daily for a few months, nightly for many years, or even for the rest of your life.
A disadvantage of a removable retainer after braces is that it can be lost or damaged and can even melt or change shape if exposed to high heat. When wrapping retainers in tissues or paper towels, they tend to get thrown out. Most orthodontists charge a few hundred dollars to replace retainers, so people with removable retainers should find a safe way to store them in a plastic retainer case.