All You Need to Know About Retainers

All You Need to Know About Retainers

Now that braces have straightened your teeth, the last thing you want is for them to shift back to their initial position. For this reason, you may need to wear retainers for at least four to six months as your gums, bones, and muscles get used to the change. If you don’t wear retainers Easton, your teeth will shift and move and can become crooked, crowded, or misaligned. This can also be due to everyday habits like chewing and grinding, which apply force to your teeth, causing them to move.

Types of retainers

The main types of retainers include fixed and removable retainers; many dental providers use a combination of both types to keep teeth straight. Although different, they have one purpose – maintaining your alignment for years.

  • Fixed retainers

As the name may suggest, fixed retainers are permanent; they bond to your teeth and can only be removed by your dentist or orthodontist. Fixed retainers are often used on the front lower or upper teeth to keep them from shifting.

  • Removable retainers

These can go in and out of your mouth. Traditional retainers have a piece of wire attached to acrylic, but there are some with wires. Both are custom-made to fit your teeth and mouth.

How are retainers fitted?

The process varies depending on the type of retainer you are getting. For removable retainers

  • The dentist uses dental putty (soft material like play dough) to take impressions of your teeth.
  • The putty is placed in trays inserted over your teeth to imprint your bite and print layout. The process is faster; it takes about one to two minutes to take the impression of your mouth.
  • The mold is taken to a dental lab, where your plastic retainer will be made. In most cases, this takes about a week.

While some dentists use putty, most dental offices take digital impressions. They are a better alternative to the traditional impressions mentioned above. For this process, the dentist uses a handheld wand to capture images of your teeth and gums. A software program stitches the images together, creating a 3D model of your mouth.

For fixed retainers:

  • Your dentist uses a wire to take measure the right placement of your teeth
  • They stick the metal wire in place using glue
  • The process is intricate and longer than creating an impression for removable retainers. But on the good side, you leave the dental office with your retainer in place. You don’t have to wait for a lab to create your retainer.

Are retainers painful?

Retainers are not painful; they fit snuggly yet comfortably over your teeth. You might experience discomfort if you forget to wear your retainer for some time and then resume wearing it again. Cracked or broken retainers can also cause some pain.

In most cases, it is probably the retainer nudging your teeth into the right position if you feel pain. You shouldn’t experience any pain or discomfort if you wear your retainer as directed by your dentist or orthodontist.

If you have further questions about retainers, consult your provider at McGill Orthodontics.

Jacques Bedard