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What could happen to my teeth if I do not get a wire dental retainer?

A wire dental retainer keeps your teeth in place after your 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 you don’t get a wire dental retainer, you 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, or Essix-type, retainer, which is a clear plastic molded tray that covers your teeth and is worn at night. Your orthodontist will give you more information about what type of treatment or retainer is needed after braces to keep your 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.