Traditional removable retainers
These retainers typically include a metal wire that surrounds the front teeth and is attached to an acrylic arch that sits on the roof of the mouth. The metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the front teeth as needed.
Essix retainers look similar to clear aligners and offer a more aesthetic alternative to wire retainers. This clear retainer may fit over the entire arch of your teeth, or only from canine to canine (clip-on retainer). It is produced from a mold of your newly aligned teeth.
These consist of wires bonded behind the bottom and/or top teeth. While the device is usually required no more than a year after wisdom teeth have been extracted, it is often kept in place for life.
Pros and cons
- Removable retainers can be taken out for eating and hygiene routines.
- Removable retainers can get lost easily, so remember to keep yours in the case whenever you remove it to eat or brush.
- A fixed retainer is great if you don’t want to keep track of it, or if you don’t want to worry about how many hours per day it must be worn.
- Teeth with fixed retainers require a little extra attention to remove tartar while flossing. Patients with fixed retainers often must use floss threaders to pass dental floss through the small spaces between the retainer and the teeth.