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What is a retainer for the teeth?

Dustin S. Burleson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
A retainer is a simple device that helps to correct your bite, as well as sometimes address other conditions.

You may have seen people wearing a retainer before, but they are not all that noticeable. A retainer is a small device that is made out of clear plastic, rubber, or even metal. They are custom-made so that they only fit your teeth. They are part of a treatment plan that has likely been determined by an orthodontist.

Using retainers to help align teeth is a common option. The length of time that someone has to wear them varies, but they are especially common following someone having their braces removed. During the process of wearing braces, the teeth have been moved into the desired position, but they are not yet settled into the gum and jaw. By using a retainer, it helps to further set your teeth in their new position. Teeth tend to shift, so the retainer can help keep them where they are supposed to be until they are settled in and will not shift out of place.

Miriam T. Furlong
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
A retainer is usually used to hold the teeth in place. Orthodontists use retainers of different types to maintain correction after treatment.

Sometimes retainers can be used for treatment, in certain cases where only limited correction is needed.

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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.