Follow-through is important – whether in a golf swing, closing a sale, or when orthodontics come off. The day you get your orthodontics removed is a day of joy, to be sure. But now that the hard work is done, the follow-through must be completed.

Orthodontics applied constant pressure to reposition teeth, roots and ligaments in your mouth. Now that the pressure is removed, it takes several more months for everything to cement into new positions. Without follow-through, your teeth may get right back out of position. Retainers are familiar devices that assist with orthodontic follow-through, offered by Carmichael’s Marconi Dental Group.

Usually on the same day that your dentist removes your orthodontics, the process of fitting a retainer begins. Your teeth are thoroughly cleaned and examined. Your dentist takes X-rays of your mouth, and casts an impression or digitizes your new bite. Once all the information is collected, your dentist discusses different types of retainers, and what is best for you. (You may have even taken care of this step in the weeks leading up to the removal of your orthodontics.)

Types of Retainers

The “Hawley”: Named for its inventor, Dr. Charles A. Hawley, this classic retainer is also the simplest design – a thin acrylic baseplate sits in the roof of the mouth, supporting a wire that holds your teeth in their new position. Hawley retainers are simple, durable, adjustable, and the acrylic base is customizable with colors and designs.

Clear aligners:  This clear or transparent retainer is made of plastic, and fits over the arch of the teeth. They are easy to remove, clean and maintain, and are less noticeable than the Hawley. However, they are also less durable – if you grind your teeth, this might not be the right choice. But if you were using Invisalign, the similarity of this retainer makes it a natural follow-through.

Fixed retainer: Also known as bonded retainers, fixed retainers use a wire that is bonded in place on the lingual (tongue) side of your teeth. They cannot be removed, like other retainers, and will typically stay in place for several months, if not permanently. Fixed retainers often produce the best results, because they provide constant support for your teeth in their new position.

Retainer Care

Cleaning and maintaining your retainer is important. Most removable retainers come with their own cleaning solutions and a case for proper storage. Always store it in a cool place, since excessive heat can warp the retainer, even making it unusable. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about retainer care.

Retainers are the best way to follow-through on your new smile. If you have any inquiries about retainers, please contact the Marconi Dental Group and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.

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