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Now that Dr. has successfully tuned your child’s braces to achieve their ideal smile, they can be removed. At the same time, there will still be some residual tension in the periodontal ligaments that anchor their teeth in their sockets. If it’s not counteracted in some way, this tension could gradually pull their teeth out of their new positions.

Using a retainer helps your child’s teeth maintain their ideal alignment while the residual tension gradually fades. As a general rule of thumb, your child will likely need to use a retainer for about as long they needed to wear braces.

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

Hawley retainers are the most common style of retainer. This is a thin, acrylic piece molded to match the roof of the mouth. It is removable but it securely attaches to the teeth with a set of sturdy wires.

A clear, plastic retainer might be recommended if the teeth only needed minor adjustment by braces. The clear plastic makes it hard for the casual observer to even notice your child is wearing a retainer.

Dr. might recommend a fixed retainer if your son or daughter’s teeth needed a significant amount of adjustment from braces. This is more likely for lower front teeth. It is a firm, metal wire that is cemented behind their teeth in key locations, such as the lower front teeth.

At first, it might take their mouth time to adapt to the retainer. This might result in a few days of excess salivation. In time, your mouth will adapt and saliva production will return to normal.

If you or your child have a question about retainers in Gallup, New Mexico, you can always call (505) 863-8100 to talk to a member of our Ortho*Dental, Inc. staff.