Braces are the most common orthodontic treatment of them all, used by people all across the United States and around the world. They’re helpful for tooth misalignments, gaps, and a whole slew of other problems that can get worse without treatment!
In the old days, braces were associated with kids. It’s true children tend toward fast results from braces, while adults might have to be a little more patient – that’s what growing up is all about, right? But an increasing number of adults are opting for braces.
According to Humana, about 25% of all people who use braces in the U.S. are adults. More than four million Americans use braces. So, as a grown-up with braces, you’re in good company. And you have options, too! Some modern braces are so subtle, it’s hard to even tell you have them.
With amazing opportunities like Invisalign®, there’s a treatment option for everyone.
And same-day braces can easily fit into your busy schedule.
(Because we know that’s part of being an adult, too.)
Even though you know about braces, there’s a vital piece of the puzzle that might be missing.
One of the biggest parts of treatment with braces isn’t about the braces. It’s what comes after. In fact, there’s a whole other dental appliance you’ll get familiar with soon: The handy, dandy, and actually quite amazing retainer. It’s the key to keeping that healthy, fully aligned smile.
Just What Is A Retainer, Anyway?
Kids might not always love the idea of braces, but one of the best parts for them is that early braces are more likely to offer permanent results – no fuss, no muss. But many adults and even some “youngins” might need a little extra help, and that help comes from the retainer.
A retainer is a dental appliance made to fit your teeth. The measurements you need are taken after your braces have already moved your teeth into their corrected positions. The retainer’s job is to retain them where they need to be. When teeth don’t stray, the benefits of your braces stay.
Without a retainer, teeth can migrate right back to where they started!
Most retainers are kept in place the majority of the day or even all the time. After the braces are done and removed, the retainer gets the spotlight.
Luckily, most people adapt to using a retainer quickly. It may have an even shorter adjustment period than the original braces. And keeping up with your retainer is by no means fussy. It’s even simpler than, say, cleaning conventional metal braces.
What Kinds of Retainers Are There?
No matter what kind of braces you’ve had, there are three kinds of retainer:
A bonded retainer is attached directly to your teeth. It will remain there for at least the first few months after your braces are removed. A bonded retainer isn’t right for everyone, but it tends to be the best option available when you had very significant orthodontic issues corrected by braces.
Bonded retainers are also called “permanent retainers.” A bonded retainer is your go-to option if you need a retainer for life. Some people love bonded retainers because they give you the best chance of permanent orthodontic correction without additional treatments or a lot of follow-up.
Once a bonded retainer is in place, you barely need to think about it anymore.
Plus, no one can even see it because it sits safely behind your teeth.
Naturally, it’s still important to have regular dental check-ups once you welcome your bonded retainer. Your orthodontist can remove your bonded retainer if you find it too hard to clean around it or if it irritates your gums. Always be sure you’re getting the area around it inspected for plaque build-up.
Bonded retainers are getting more and more popular by the day, in Port Orange and elsewhere. Once a relatively rare selection for more severe cases, it’s grown into an idea whose time has come. That’s extra true for adults, who find it more convenient than retainers you remove at night.
Hawley retainer is the technical term for the most common kind of removable retainer. They’re also called (surprise!) removable retainers or wire retainers. You can remove this kind of retainer whenever you need to clean it or to make mealtime more convenient.
A Hawley retainer tends to be simpler than the other removable alternatives. Just as with your original braces, it’s wise to stay in touch with your orthodontist as you get used to your retainer. Call your orthodontist right away if lip or cheek irritation develops: You may need a follow-up appointment.
The Hawley retainer can be adjusted over time to ensure a good fit. It’s more durable than other removable retainers and can be repaired if damaged. That can lower the costs of having the retainer. Provided by a great Port Orange orthodontist, your Hawley retainer may serve you well for many years.
There aren’t many drawbacks to the Hawley retainer, and they’re very popular. Most people appreciate how the upper and lower teeth touch naturally when using this kind of retainer. However, they’re a bit more noticeable than the most popular alternative: The clear plastic retainer.
Let’s take a closer look at it now.
Thermoplastic Retainer (Clear Plastic Retainer)
You might hear the clear plastic retainer referred to by all kinds of different brand names. While there are several specific types of clear plastic retainer, their performance qualities tend to be similar. That said, they are all made from different types of plastic, which makes some of them lighter than others.
The Vivera brand of clear plastic retainer is made by the same brand as Invisalign®.
As with that ultra-popular product, the main purpose of the clear plastic retainer is to make it nearly invisible to other people. But that isn’t its only advantage, either. In fact, a thermoplastic retainer offers a much more precise fit for your mouth, because a complete mold of your teeth is created to shape it.
Like Hawley retainers, thermoplastic retainers can be removed when you wish. They tend to feel highly natural and be easy to adjust to. Since they’re so compact compared to traditional alternatives, they’re less likely to affect your speech. Plus, most people find it just plain easier to remember to use them.
If you want a thermoplastic retainer, it’s critical to go to a Port Orange orthodontist you know you can count on to get it right the first time. The dimensions of this kind of retainer need to be flawless: It can’t be adjusted in the future, and if it breaks, it can’t be repaired.
Discover the Right Retainer for You with Beauchamp Orthodontics
Every member of the family can find the right retainer for them here at Beauchamp Orthodontics. We’ll provide you with the compassionate care and helpful advice you need to keep your braces’ hard-earned wins going for years to come. Set your consultation today!