A retainer is an orthodontic device that preserves the benefits of your orthodontic treatment. Even after they’ve been moved into a healthy, strong position by orthodontics, teeth tend to “relapse” and gradually shift back into their original positions.
If you had orthodontic work done as a child and you’re now an adult, you may have noticed that your smile isn’t as straight as it was directly after your treatment. In the past, orthodontists only recommended using a retainer for a few months after successful treatment. Now, however, we recommend using retainers for life.
Dr. Bernuy prescribes the type of retainer you need for your individual case as well as the type of orthodontics you had. In some instances, you may need what’s called a “permanent retainer.” In other words, your teeth are in such danger of migrating backward that you need a metal appliance placed permanently in your mouth to hold your teeth in healthy alignment.
Most, however, don’t need permanent retainers. Usually, you only wear retainers around the clock for a few months and then switch to night-time use only. Based on your needs, Dr. Bernuy may recommend:
Removable clear plastic retainers are best when your orthodontic treatment was performed with Invisalign® clear aligners. Invisalign has its own brand of retainers, called Vivera®.
Permanent retainers may last a lifetime. The Hawley retainers can last for up to 20 years.
Clear plastic retainers, however, should be replaced more frequently. Generally, we recommend using plastic retainers for about a year. Vivera comes in packs of four, so you don’t have to return for new retainers right away.
The cost of retainers varies by type and how often you must replace them. Of course, the cost of using a retainer is far less than having to re-do your orthodontic treatment in the future.
To preserve your hard-earned smile and maintain the benefits of your orthodontic treatment with the ideal retainer, contact Bernuy Orthodontic Specialist at our Austin or Georgetown, Texas, office by phone or online today.