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.
Orthodontists are specially-trained dentists who can fix problem with bad bite, crooked teeth and misaligned jaws.
One of the main benefits orthodontic treatment is cosmetic – you get a great smile that makes you look and feel better.
But there are real health benefits of orthodontic treatment too:
You will be able to chew your food easier: Chewing is an important part of digestion. Having crooked teeth means you don’t chew your food properly and could end up with indigestion and other stomach problems.
You will have fewer dental problems: As crooked teeth are hard to clean, you could have more cavities and gum disease than people who have had orthodontic treatment. When your teeth are crooked there is extra stress on your teeth, gums and jaw which can lead to problems later on.
You have less risk of breathing problems: The roof of your mouth can sometimes partially block the air passages in your nose leading to breathing problems and snoring. Orthodontic treatment can reduce this possibility.
Some recent research suggests a link between oral bacteria and cardiovascular disease, where calcium in your mouth is dissolved and deposited in your arteries.
Orthodontics helps prevent oral infections which may have a direct effect on heart disease.
Orthodontics not only gives you a great smile, it can lead to a healthier, happier and longer life.
Here is the truth on some common myths about orthodontists
Myth – Any dentist can straighten my teeth.
Truth – An orthodontist is a specialist at straightening teeth with two or three years of additional training after dental school.
They usually see hundreds of orthodontic patients a year where some family dentists may see only a handful.
Myth – Only children wear braces
Truth – Around 20% of orthodontic patients are adults
Myth – You only need to see an orthodontist for very complex cases.
Truth – Orthodontists have wide experience and deal with all types of orthodontic issue. However, their wide experience means they know exactly what to do in the most complex cases.
Myth – Seeing an orthodontist is more expensive than going to a general dentists for orthodontic treatment.
Truth – They are usually doing different work. An orthodontist offers value as an expert, highly experienced professional with specific training in this field.
Myth – Braces are painful and take years to work
Fact – Like a new pair of shoes, braces are perfectly comfortable after an initial ‘breaking in’ or adjustment period. Braces can get results after just a few months.
Myth – Braces are ugly and embarrassing in business settings.
Truth – Today braces can be made from clear plastic and can be nearly invisible. They can also be mounted on the back side of the teeth so that they are not visible.