Dental retainers are devices used to keep teeth in the desired position after braces are removed.
After braces are removed, it still takes some time for teeth to settle into the jawbone and the soft tissue.
Without appropriate action, they might drift back in to the original position.
Retainers can be fixed or removable.
Removable retainers can be taken off to eat or brush your teeth. You wear them all the time for about a year and then wear them only at night for a further period.
Fixed retainers are permanently glued to your teeth and can only be removed by your dentist.
The most common type is Hawley Retainers, which have a plastic base following the shape of your mouth.
This is connected to a wire that wraps around your teeth, keeping them in place.
Essix Retainers are made of clear plastic and some patients prefer them as they cannot be seen but they don’t last as long as Hawley retainers.
As well as keeping your teeth in position after wearing braces, retainers can also be used to correct other minor orthodontic problems that don’t require a full set of dental braces.
For example, they may be used to move just one tooth or correct a slight malocclusion.