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DENTAL RETAINERS: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Braces are used for teeth straightening,but there is a probability that the teeth may come back to its natural position if nothing is done and this is where the retainers come in to play—it ensuresthat your teeth are stuck in their new place thereby ensuring you get the result you desire.

Just like braces, retainers come in different forms— most of themare made from either metal or plastic in a bid to gain more flexibility. Generally, your dentist will recommend either a permanent retainer or removable one like Essix when you are ready to get one. Although retainersare typically used after treatment, there are special retainers that can be used for teeth straightening,but this also depends on your dental condition.

In this article, we will be taking a detailed look at retainers,including how much it cost, how it can be maintained and the varieties available.

What Is A Retainer?

A retainer is a device that is planted behind the teeth to prevent them from changing their position after a dental procedure has been concluded. This orthodontic device is often used after the completion of treatment with braces. Retainers are made from either metal, plastic or a combination of both. Retainers come in different forms and shape,but they all serve the same purpose.

Purpose Of Using A Retainer

Braces are not the most comfortable orthodontic device —despite Invisalign going extra miles to offer a lot of improvement in terms of appearance, braces are not always fun to wear all through the day not to mention having these metals stuck to your teeth at night.

Looking at the discomfort that comes from using braces, the last thing you want is for the teeth to shift back to its original position. As much as it can be frustrating, it's also a total waste of time and expenses taking the amount it costs into consideration— to prevent this from occurring;retainersare used.

Generally, the teeth begin to shift back after your braces are removed. This is common as we age as well as when the wisdom teeth shoot out. Wearing a retainer after braceshelp to ensure your teeth stay in its new position.

Whether you opt forpermanent or removable braces, rest assured that it will prevent your teeth from shifting back to its natural position for years as long as you follow your dentist's instruction. Retainers can be fixed on the upper/lower teeth or even both — They are aligned the same way as braces but cost less,which comes as a relief for those on a budget.

Differences Between Braces And Retainers

The difference between braces and retainers are well spelt-out — the only similarity between both is their appearance as well as how they are aligned. Braces are designed to help with teeth straightening. This improves the appearance of your teeth as it corrects any form of misalignment — it can be bonded to the teeth with brackets to form a permanent bond or can be removed like Invisalign.

Also, the use of braces treatment depends on the complexity of your case. The procedure can last between 1-3 years,which is accompanied by a routine visit to your dentist to review the position of the brace and make adjustments if needed.Braces are more expensive than retainers and can be uncomfortable,especially if you go for traditional ones.

Retainers only help to hold the teeth in the appropriate position; it does not make your teeth straight— retainers come in different forms. They can either be fixed or removable, metal or plastic,but they all serve the same purpose except that their price varies. Contact Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic on Harley Street, London to have an experienced dentist recommend the right retainers for you. Give us a call on 02071830755 today.

Can Retainers Straighten the Teeth?

Retainers are primarily designed to help with teeth positioning,butsome retainerscan help with misalignment.Although it may cost more than the conventional ones, they come with the added advantage of straightening the teeth when it is worn. However, these retainers only help in mild cases of misalignment as their movements are quite simple.Your dentist will only prescribe retainers if they notice the teeth are beginning to drift further away from their position— retainers like spring aligners can initiate this action.

Along with ensuring the teeth does not stray too far, they also move it back to its new position.  Spring Aligners are similar to regular retainers except for the extra parts that look to move the teeth slightly behind to prevent overcrowding.

What Else Can Be Done With Retainers?

Apart from maintaining the position of the teeth, some other uses of a retainer as recommended by CosmeticDentistry include handling the followingissues:

  • Stops a child from sucking on their thumb
  • Reduce tongue thrusting
  • Prevent damage to the teeth as a result of teeth grinding

Types Of Retainers

As earlier mentioned, retainers come in different form and kinds. We have provided you withinformation to guide you on how to choose the most suitable retainers in this guide.This is subject to the approval of your dentist,and it should not be a substitute to your dentist option for you.

Hawley Retainer

Hawley retainers also referred to as wire or metal retainersare a popular choice among orthodontics patients. It can be used on the lower or upper part of the teeth or even both depending on the complexity of your case. What makes this retainer accessible is the fact that it is comfortable and grants users a certain level of freedom.

Also, it can be removed whenever you want to and should not be worn when eating hot or cold foods or drinking. The lower part of the plate is made from plastic crossed with wire,making it uncomfortable when you chew while it is installed.

Hawley retainers are less expensive compared to others and can be customised to your taste. It means the colour can be designed to blend with the shade of your teeth making it less visible. This retainer can last for years,making no case for a replacement,but they are very noticeable when worn during the day due to their wired plates.

However, once you transit to wearing it only at night, the visibility factor won’t be an issue. Some Hawley retainers may come with extra parts which help the teeth shift back to its natural position— therefor helping to straighten the teeth.

Essix Retainers

Essix retainers are similar to Hawley retainers but come with an added advantage that makes it even more appealing to patients.Although it is more expensive than Hawley retainer, it is made of transparent plastics that are not noticeable when worn during the day.

Essix Retainers are also removable and performs the same function as Hawley retainers except for the fact that they have a shorter life span. You might also need to remove your device before eating, and they should be cleaned regularly to prevent discolouration.

Vivera Retainers

The makers of Invisalign manufacture Vivera retainers. Most times, it is called Invisalign retainers because of the invisibility factor— it is made from clear plastic which is less noticeable and at the same time durable— it does not lose its shape due to prolonged use.

BeforeVivera retainers are fitted, an impression of your teeth is taken and sent to the lab to design a retainer that will naturally fit into your teeth. Fortunately, you do not need to have an Invisalign treatment before Invisalign retainers are bonded.

If you want to discover the most suitable retainer for you, then visit Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic on Harley Street, London or place a call to us on 02071830755 to book an appointment.

Fixed Retainers

These set an of retainer aligned to the front of the teeth and is an entirely different option to all the removable retainers mentioned above. Fixed retainers are only aligned to the front of the teeth,especially around the molars and premolars on your lower jaw.

A sturdy wire is fixed behind the teeth to form a permanent fixture which helps the teeth stay glued to its natural position for an extended period— you can have fitted retainers for as long as ten years depending on your situation.

Fixed retainers are more expensive than removable ones,but the fact that it is installed behind the teeth makes it less noticeable. While there is no risk of them falling off unexpectedly, they are hard to maintain and can make flossing difficult.

How Much Do Retainers Cost?

The cost of retainers is determined by a lot of factors, some of which includes location and your dentist— every retainer has its price tag. However, below is an estimated cost of each retainer.

Retainers come as a single device except in the case of Vivera where they come in a set of 4 - 3. Fixed retainers cost around £100-£300 and can last for 3-10 years.

Essix and Viveraare used for short treatment. While it is possible to get a single Essix retainer for £50, Vivera costs within £300- £420 for 3-4 pairs.

Hawley retainers are the cheapest option available. They cost an average of £100,and you can have them on for a maximum of 10 years.

Retainers will require follow-up treatment to ensure it is properly fitted. Hence you are advised to ensure that your treatment covers for a check-up. Also, you might want to compare the cost of a removable retainer to a fixed one as well as how much it will cost to get a replacement.

How Much Does A Replacement Retainer Cost?

Children under the age of 18 who got their retainers from public clinics will have to pay for replacement if they lose or damage their retainers. Most public hospitals charge around £70 per retainer. However, if you are getting a replacement from a private dentist at Harley Street London, the cost of getting a replacement retainer is the same for all patients,and it costs the same as getting an original one.

The cost might be lower since an impression of your teeth won't be taken all over again. In some cases, damaged retainers can be fixed— it is vital to seek the advice of your dentist before jumping at the idea of getting a replacement. Since Vivera comes in a pair of 3-4, you can replace the damaged one rather than going for a complete set.

Retainers: How Long Do I Need Them?

Just like braces, you will have a retainer on for a long time. The minimum period is six months but can stretch to a period of 10 years,depending on your condition. In people that have had braces on before the eruption of the wisdom teeth, the movement of the teeth will be slow,which means they will have retainers on much longer than they expect.

If you go for removable retainers, you will be initially asked to have them on during the day for the first six months of treatment except while eating or brushing. Apart from that, you may be required to have your retainers on for a complete 24 hours.

Your dentist will determine how long you will need to wear your retainers,but you should know that fixed retainers are not as flexible as removable ones which means you need to carry out regular cleaning routine in addition to having them on for a very long time.

How To Clean Your Retainers

Cleaning your retainers should be an everyday routine like brushing your teeth. Otherwise, food particles will store underneath promoting the growth of plaque and bacteria— which can undoubtfully increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities,thereby resulting in mouth odour. Clear retainers like Vivera may become discoloured after prolonged use without proper maintenance.

Removable retainers need less attention since they can be removed before eating or flossing. You do not need to worry if you decide to go for fixed retainers— most dentist book a hygiene appointment to teach patients the best way to take care of their retainers.

If you are just getting started with retainers, follow these easy steps to know how to clean them.

  • Use cleansing products recommended by your dentist to eliminate bad odour and to also prevent stains.
  • For removable retainers, rinse with warm water before fixing back.
  • Ensure you clean your retainers at least twice daily with soap and a soft-bristle brush to get rid of the plague. Ensure your brush touches every angle to get rid of food particles that may accumulate around the grooves.
  • Avoid using toothpaste on Hawley retainers as they contain chemicals that may attack the materials with which it is produced.
  • If your retainers eventually changecolour, scrub with baking soda and a soft brush— avoid using lime as you will do when trying to whiten your teeth at home.
  • Some dentist may recommend soaking your retainers in retainerbriteto get rid of the plaques— only do this if it is approved.

How To Clean Fixed Retainers

Fixed and removable retainers require different cleaning methods. Since it's permanently bonded to the teeth, you must employ a rigid cleaning routine to reduce excessive accumulation of bacteria.

The cleaning process is intensive. Hence, it may take some time for you to adjust to it but the earlier,the better. Dental floss is recommended for fixed retainers,but interdental brushes also help reduce the bacteria load. You will have to try both methods to see which one works. If none seems to be yielding any result, consult your dentist.

FAQ

Are Retainers Painful?

Retainers can hurt a bit but not all the time. You might feel pain a few days after it is installed,but the pain will subside as you get used to it. If you struggle to cope with it pain, pain killers will be of help.

Is It Possible Not To Use A Retainer After Braces?

This is not advisable. It is impossible to keep your teeth straight without the help of retainers after treatment with braces. To guarantee you enjoy the benefits of using braces, you will need to get a retainer.

Which Retainer Is Suitable For Me?

The right choice depends on your situation as well as your budget. Most people go for Vivera because they are invisible while others go for Hawley because they are cheaper. If your teeth have drifted from its new position, a retainer that can help straighten them.Most times, your dentist won’t give you enough details about each of these retainers— ensure you take your time to examine the pros and cons of each of these retainers mentioned above before opting for any.

Reasons Your Retainer Smell?

Your Retainer will smell bad if adequate care is given to it. Accumulation of food particles may lead to bad odour as well as decay— if you notice any bad odour from your retainer, use the cleaning tips mentioned above and if none seems to be effective then complain aboutit to your dentist.

Conclusion

For retainers, there is a wide range of options to choose from, but they all serve the same purpose. Having a brace treatment without backing it up with a retainer is a complete waste of time— this is because sooner or later the teeth will drift back to its original position. Contact Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic on Harley Street, London if you need an experienced dentist to prescribe a suitable retainer for you. Give us a call on 02071830755 to book an appointment.