Orthodontist Recommended Retainers

If you have been receiving orthodontic care, you are probably wondering if you will need retainers. When you finalize your orthodontic treatment, you will often require the use of a retainer.  In the following educational video, Dr. Steven J. Hietanen discusses the recommended retainers we provide in our office. If you are considering orthodontic care for you or a loved one, contact our office to arrange a free consultation.

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  • Although retainers come in different types, shapes, sizes, and orientations, we prefer to finish our cases with a gnathologic positioner. This is a specialized retainer in which the patient’s teeth have been reset in wax to represent the perfect bite. This custom-made mouth guard is worn briefly after braces are removed. The patient exercises into the appliance to improve relationships between the upper and lower teeth.
  • We then use more conventional retainers to stabilize and hold the teeth in place until their bony structures heal. Take the Essix retainer, for instance. A clear plastic retainer, it is designed to be drawn over the teeth and adapted to the teeth’s surfaces. These retainers are worn only to bed at night. They are particularly effective at maintaining the teeth.
  • Other retainers are made of wire and plastic and hence look more traditional. The Hawley retainer is one such example. It is commonly used in orthodontic treatment. It is a plastic retainer that rests on the roof of the mouth, with a wire that stretches across the upper front teeth and wires that clasp onto the teeth in back to hold it in place. A similar retainer, constructed for the lower arch, has the plastic or acrylic behind the teeth adapted to avoid the tongue.