Once you have completed your treatment, the retaining phase begins. To keep your teeth from shifting back to their original positions, you will need to wear a retainer. For most patients, a retainer will be prescribed to be worn 24 hours for approximately one year. After that, you can check with Dr. Nee to find out if you can wear it only at night. As with braces, there are many options for different types of retainers to meet your needs.
The Hawley is the most common type of retainer. It is made up of a plastic base formed from a mold of your gums and has a metal wire attached that will fit over your teeth. This retainer can be used by patients of any age! Be sure to care for your retainer properly by avoiding heat or excessive force which can damage it.
Like clear aligners, clear retainers are made of clear plastic and cover the teeth completely. Clear retainers are more aesthetically pleasing than traditional retainers because there is no wire. However, a downside to clear retainers is that they have to be replaced more often than a traditional retainer.
Traditional and Clear Retainers are removable varieties of retainers. Permanent retainers also exist and consist of a metal wire that is permanently attached to the backside of the front teeth. In most cases, this retainer will be worn for the rest of the patient’s life without having to be replaced. However, it is important to schedule regular check-ups to adjust the retainer if needed. This type of retainer needs the most attention to cleaning to prevent it from causing any gum or bone problems.