Colorado Orthodontics

What's an Orthodontic Retainer and Why Do I Need One?

At All About Braces, we're proud to provide quality orthodontic treatment to patients in Aurora, Lakewood, Thornton, Arvada, and the greater Denver, CO community. If you're like most people, when you think about what orthodontic care looks like, you probably picture treatments like metal braces or Invisalign. While these are critical to successful treatment, though, they're not the only component to the treatment process – and no matter what type of treatment you choose, orthodontic retainers will play an important role.

What Is a Retainer?

A retainer is an orthodontic appliance that helps to keep the teeth in place after the active phase of treatment. Retainers are a constant in orthodontics – whether you get treatment with traditional metal braces, lingual braces, or alternatives like Invisalign, you'll have some form of retention therapy once you finish your treatment. Your orthodontist may recommend any of the following types of retainers, depending on the specifics of your treatment course:

  • Hawley Retainer: Made from molded acrylic and metal wires, this sturdy, removable retainer is among the most common.
  • Essix Retainer: Similar to Invisalign, these clear aligner-type retainers area a convenient option for patients that need 24/7 retention.
  • Fixed Retainer: Fixed, or bonded retainers, are made from a small wire cemented to the back side of the front teeth. These are not removable, so they're most appropriate for patients with a high risk of tooth regression.

Why Do I Need a Retainer?

So, why do people need orthodontic retainers? To answer this question, we have to understand the biology of the mouth. Once you finish your orthodontic treatment, your teeth will be in new positions and you'll have a brand new smile – but the underlying ligaments and tissues that support your teeth will not have adapted to this new alignment. Without retention, the "muscle memory" of these tissues will cause your teeth to drift back to their old positions, erasing your progress. A retainer helps to keep your teeth in place while your mouth adjusts, cementing your smile for a lifetime to come.

Contact Your Denver, CO Orthodontist

Retainers are a vital part of the process of getting a new smile – and if you're interested in pursuing a new smile for yourself, we'd love to help. Feel free to request an appointment online to schedule a consultation at one of our Denver orthodontic offices. We can't wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams through orthodontic treatment and maintain it for a lifetime through retention!

Member - AAO Board Certified - ABO Colorado Orthodontic Foundation

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