A retainer is critical for Invisalign treatment. If you don’t use a retainer, the multiple months and investment you spent on straightening your teeth, will revert back. As you get older, teeth tend to naturally shift. To prevent shifting after orthodontic work, a retainer is crucial in keeping your teeth straight. There are several choices available, ranging from removable retainers to permanent retainers.
The most important thing to keep in mind is it must fit properly. In order to prevent your teeth from shifting, the fit must be snug. Wearing a retainer maybe uncomfortable and a nescience but necessary. Speaking from experience, when I lost my removable retainer and didn’t replace it, my teeth started shifting within weeks. If you don’t replace it immediately, you may have to start over in terms of time and cost. The alternative to replacing a retainer is frustrating. If you forego the retainer, then you may want to skip getting braces in the first place because they will be misaligned in the future again.
The time required and type of retainer will depend on your treatment. If you had rotated teeth, open bites, or gaps, then a retainer will be imperative afterward. If you got metal or clear braces or Invisalign for minor cosmetic problems, then the need for a retainer will be more casual.
Types of Retainers: Fixed and Removable
Basic retainers are either fixed or removable. Removable retainers are removed when wanted. While fixed retainers, on the other hand, are permanently attached to the teeth. There are pros and cons for both fixed retainers and removable retainers.
Fixed Retainers Pros and Cons
After the Invisalign treatment is complete, the preservation phase begins. It’s important to use a retainer to keep your teeth straight for a lifetime.
Fixed retainers are attached or “bonded” to the teeth as lasting fixtures in your mouth. Generally, the fixed retainer is behind your lower teeth using a small wire. Orthodontists don’t usually use a permanent retainer on your upper teeth because your overbite makes it nearly impossible.
The advantage about using a permanent retainer is you don’t have to worry about losing the retainer or forget to put it in before bed. Often, it does a great job.
The disadvantage is the difficulty cleaning your teeth under the retainer using both a toothbrush and floss. If you are lax about flossing and brushing behind your teeth, plaque and tartar will begin to accrue. This could potentially lead to gum disease.
Orthodontists will commonly recommend you use a floss threader for fixed retainers. The advantage is it allows you to floss between the tooth and beneath the wire.
Removable Retainers Pros and Cons
As mentioned with fixed retainers, removable retainers have their pros and cons.
The advantage of removable retainers is when you are eating, brushing or flossing; the device can be detached at anytime.
The disadvantage is there is a greater chance of the detachable retainer getting lost or worn out over time. Of course, the less it’s worn, the less work it is doing to keep your teeth straight and in place.
Types of Removable Retainers: Hawley Retainers and Essix or Vivera Retainers
Patients and dentists tend to choose removable retainers when the choice is given.
What is a Vivera or Essix Retainer?
The clear Vivera and Essix retainers fit tight because they are cast for each individual patient. They look comparable to the Invisalign aligners. The difference is these aligners are always the same unlike the Invisalign that’s replaced every couple weeks.
What is a Hawley Retainer?
Hawley retainers have wires and clasps fixed to the plastic aligner, which clasps the teeth in order to, anchor it in the correct position. The body covers the roof of the mouth and the bottom teeth.
Pros and Cons of Essix and Vivera Retainers vs Hawley Retainers
Hawley retainers are sturdier than Essix and Vivera retainers. People who grind their teeth tend to crack or wear holes in the Vivera and Essix retainers. When you go in for your routine cleanings, have your dentist examine your aligners.
Do I Need a Retainer After Invisalign Treatment?
Ultimately, the sole purpose of the fixed and removable retainer is to keep your teeth in their correct position after your Invisalign or orthodontic treatment. You run the serious risk of your teeth shifting if you don’t use a retainer. This means you are back to braces and a lot more money!