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What could happen to my child's teeth if they do not get a wire retainer?

A  wire dental retainer can keep your child’s teeth in place after the braces do the hard work of moving the teeth into the correct alignment. The retainer is used in the “retention” phase of treatment, much like a retaining wall holds back the earth behind it. Teeth are forced to move to a new position during the “active” phase of treatment (braces), and may shift back to the prior, incorrect position without a retainer to keep them in place.

If your child doesn’t get a wire dental retainer, your child might instead get the more common Hawley-type retainer. This retainer is made of plastic and metal and is removable. Another alternative is the vacuform retainer, which is a clear plastic molded tray that covers the teeth and is worn at night. Your orthodontist will give you more information on what type of treatment or retainer is needed after braces to keep your child’s teeth in the correct position.

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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.