Your braces are off, and your smile is straighter, but that doesn't mean your orthodontic treatment has come to an end!
Whatever kind of brace you've been wearing up until now, you'll need a retainer to keep your teeth from moving back to where they started.
Keep reading to find out why you need a retainer, how to wear one, and how to order a replacement.
Dental retainers are for anyone who has had their teeth straightened by braces. It doesn't matter whether the wearer had traditional metal braces, or clear aligners such as ClearCorrect or Invisalign – a retainer must be worn to keep teeth in line after straightening.
There are two main kinds of retainers: removable and permanent.
These are a fixed retainer, often consisting of a metal wire that's glued to the back-side of the teeth. A bonded retainer such as this is very popular after orthodontic treatment, as it's unobtrusive, very sturdy, and almost impossible to lose! It also keeps your teeth in place round the clock, so you don't have to remind yourself to wear your retainer every day.
Removable retainers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. The most common forms are the traditional wire retainer – AKA the Hawley retainer – or a clear retainer that looks similar to the aligner trays you get with ClearCorrect treatment.
Here at SmileStories, we can’t tell you directly which kind of removable retainer would suit you best. However, you can book an online visit with any of our expert dentists who’ll be able to advise you. Just click here to find out more.
If you've misplaced or broken your retainer, you should order a replacement as soon as possible. The longer you go without it, the worse things will be for your teeth!
This depends entirely on the type of retainer you wear, and what kind of dental insurance you have.
If you lose or break your permanently bonded retainer, you'll need to book an appointment with your orthodontist or dentist, which can incur a pretty hefty bill.
Removable retainers are generally cheaper to replace, as they're made of plastic and need to be replaced regularly anyway. That being said, you'll still want to take good care of them to avoid unnecessary expenditure!
It's good practice to keep your removable retainer in its case when not in use to ensure it doesn't go missing.
The best way to order a replacement retainer is through the person who gave you your initial set. They'll most likely have your dental impression on file and can give you a new retainer that fits perfectly.
We recommend going to your usual orthodontist or dentist for a replacement retainer, but it's not necessary. A new dentist may have to take your dental impression again, which can incur an extra fee, but you will still be able to get your replacement.
It's worth noting that not all damaged retainers need to be replaced. Wire retainers can often be easily fixed by a dental lab, orthodontist, or dentist, and this can save you a lot of money on a brand new replacement.
Unfortunately, the same can not be said for clear plastic retainers, which must be replaced when cracks or holes appear.
If you've lost or broken your retainer and aren't sure what to do, we recommend speaking to your orthodontist or dentist. They'll be able to advise you on how to get a replacement.