How do I know if I need a wire dental retainer?

Your orthodontist will help you decide what type of retainer you need after braces. After getting your braces removed, you don’t want your teeth to shift back to their previous position. A retainer is useful for this “retention” phase of treatment. The wire dental retainer is glued to the back of the teeth and would be worn all of the time.

Alternatives to a wire dental retainer include the common Hawley-type retainer, a piece of plastic usually molded to the roof of the mouth. It has wires attached to the plastic, and it stays in place with wires going over the front of your teeth. This type of retainer is removable (and easy to lose), and you usually wear it 12 to 24 hours a day. Another option is a clear plastic retainer that covers the teeth, called a “vacuform” or Essix-type retainer, which is also removable.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.