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What type of retainer will I need to wear after my teeth are straightened?

Dustin S. Burleson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Your orthodontist takes into account several factors when he or she plans to retain the positions of your teeth. Growth of the jaws following treatment, the amount of time needed for gum and bone tissues to stabilize, and pressures from the lips and tongue are all important factors that affect the stability of your finished result. After considering these factors, your orthodontist decides what type of retainer you should wear and how long you should wear it.
Dante A. Gonzales, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
There are many different types of retainers:
  • Hawley retainers made of acrylic and wires.
  • Essix/Trutain retainers made of clear plastic.
  • Permanent/Fixed retainers made of wire that is cemented to the tongue side of your teeth.
Your orthodontist will look at many different factors before deciding what type of retainer would be best for you. Some of the factors include:
  • Were there teeth extracted?
  • Is the patient very compliant with instructions?
  • Were there any TMJ issues?
There are many other factors that can go in to deciding what type of retainer is best for a patient after orthodontic treatment. Sometimes though, the best retainer is one that the patient will want to wear. If retainers are not worn consistently then the teeth can shift.

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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.