After completion of active orthodontic treatment, every patient needs retainers to ensure long-term stability. Retainers are customized for each patient. At Lai Orthodontics, we offer the following retainers:
Hawley retainers are made with a metal wire surrounding front teeth and acrylic covering palate/gum part. The acrylic part comes with different color of your choice. This retainer can also help settle the bite at back teeth.
It is usually worn 16-20 hours/day except eating and brushing the first year after treatment, and then 8-10 hours/day at night afterward.
Clear Removable (Essex) Retainers
Essex clear retainers are made with clear plastic dental material that are customized to cover all teeth after treatment. Its aesthetic appearance and thin material are good fit for many patients. The Essex clear retainers will need replacement every 2-3 years out of normal wear-and-tear.
Bonded (Fixed) Retainers
A thin metal wire is glued behind front teeth to hold those teeth in place after treatment completed. Patients don't worry about forgetting to wear retainers. However bonded retainers may easily accumulate plaque if not been cleaned well. Therefor excellent oral hygiene and strictly following regular cleaning schedule are required.
Phase I Temporary Retainer
This retainer is used after Phase I treatment. The design is similar to the wired removable retainers. However, this retainer is used only for about 6-12 months after Phase I treatment since it may interfere with new tooth eruption and will not fit well when patients have all adult teeth grown in.
Do I really need retainers after treatment?
YES. Every orthodontic patient needs to wear retainers after orthodontic treatment (for both Invisalign and braces).
Wearing retainers is just as important as doing the active orthodontic treatment.
Teeth are constantly moving throughout our lifetime. Teeth are connected to jaw bone through periodontal ligaments, which help teeth to buffer the pressure coming from all heavy chewing and biting forces from our daily life.Teeth are not tightly screwed to the jaw bone. This is why orthodontic forces can make teeth to move. This is why after the orthodontic treatment is completed, teeth are still moving by nature. Fortunately most natural movement is very slow and in small amount which is why consistent retainer wearing can help maintain the result of your orthodontic treatment.
We recommend patients to wear removable retainers full time (16-20 hours/day) for 6-12 months after treatment completed and nightly for 8-10 hours/day thereafter. Patient should take out retainers when eating and brushing teeth.
Bonded retainers can be more reliable for retention than removable retainers; However cleaning thoroughly around the bonded retainer can be difficult and it can compromised the health of teeth and gum if teeth and gum are not cleaned well.