Orthodontic treatment requires a big time commitment, especially considering the fact that, not only do you have to spend months or years wearing braces, you'll also have to wear a retainer after treatment to hold or “retain” the results.
Why wear a retainer?
As we get older, the position of our tongues, lips, cheeks, and gums change. These soft tissues changes can affect the positions of your teeth as well.
In addition, following orthodontic treatment, teeth will tend to move back into their old, crooked positions (or into new crooked ones!) if they are not prevented from doing so, because of the fibres in our gums. This is especially true immediately after the orthodontic treatment is complete, as the teeth have not yet settled into their new positions.
This is why the retainer phase of your orthodontic treatment is so important to maintaining the results.
What types of retainers are there?
Hawley retainers have a plastic base that fits the shape of your mouth. This plastic base is attached to a wire that wraps around the teeth, keeping them firmly in place.
Essix retainers are made of clear plastic, making them nearly invisible when worn. They are not as durable as Hawley retainers, so if you choose this option, you’ll have to factor in the cost of more frequent replacements.
Bonded retainers are custom-made wires that is affixed or bonded to the teeth. These types of retainers are made to remain in your mouth full time for many years, and can only be safely removed by an orthodontist.