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Through the course of multiple adjustment sessions, the braces fitted on your teeth at Ortho*Dental, Inc. have effectively realigned your teeth for a fully functional mouth and a smooth even smile. Once your braces are removed you will need to wear a retainer. The periodontal ligaments that hold your teeth in your mouth still have some residual tension that attempts to pull them back towards your old smile.

Using a retainer helps hold your new alignment while your periodontal ligaments adjust to their new location. As a general rule of thumb, you will need to use a retainer for about as long as you were wearing braces.

There are three different types of retainers that your orthodontist will recommend.

The most common type of retainer is known as a Hawley. This is essentially a thin, tongue-shaped piece of acrylic, custom fit to the shape of your mouth. It’s anchored in place by a set of wires that interlock with specific teeth in your mouth.

Clear plastic retainers are more common for people only wore braces for a short period of time and only required minor realignment. They are very similar to clean plastic aligner brands like Invisalign and Clear Correct.

Fixed retainer are often reserved for individuals that needed a significant amount of adjustment. This is even more likely if you had significant alignment issues in your lower teeth. This style of retainer is a durable wire retainer that is cemented in place behind your teeth.

If you are due to have braces removed soon and you have questions about what type of retainer you’ll need, please call Ortho*Dental, Inc. at (505) 863-8100 to schedule an appointment.