What Are Dental Retainers? Why Do I Really Need to Wear One?

A dental retainer will almost certainly form the final phase of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s essential to wear one as instructed by your orthodontist at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center. A retainer is designed to help prevent the teeth from moving back to their original positions once you stop wearing dental  braces. If you fail to wear your retainer then there’s every chance your teeth will become crooked again, and all the hard work and effort you put into wearing braces will have been wasted. It’s important to understand the need to wear a dental retainer before you begin orthodontic treatment, as you need to be committed to continue wearing it for as long as recommended by your orthodontist.

Two Main Reasons for Wearing a Dental Retainer


Wearing a dental retainer in the longer term helps reduce the effects of aging, and ensures teeth will remain in the correct positions. The longer you commit to wearing your retainers, the longer you’ll be able to keep your beautifully straight smile.

When Will I Need to Begin Wearing a Dental Retainer?

Your dentist will fit you for a retainer once you finish orthodontic therapy. A dental retainer can either be removable, or will be bonded onto the back surfaces of the teeth. There are various different types of retainers, and your dentist will discuss all these options with you, and will probably suggest the best choice for your needs. There are three common types of retainers that may be used and these include:

Vacuum Formed Retainer

This is a clear plastic retainer that fits tightly over your teeth. It must be removed whenever you eat or drink as otherwise it could get stained. Most patients find this type of retainer very easy to wear.

Bonded Retainer

This retainer is fixed onto the back surfaces of the teeth so it is hidden from view. A bonded retainer could be a good choice if you think you will forget to wear a removable retainer, and it will be working permanently to help your teeth remain in the correct positions. However it can be trickier to clean and you will need to spend additional time making sure you brush and floss thoroughly.

Acrylic and Wire Retainer

This removable retainer consists of wire that runs across the front of your teeth, and which is attached to an acrylic or plastic plate that fits inside your mouth. The wire helps to hold your teeth in the correct positions. Some people do find this type of retainer initially interferes with speech, but it doesn’t take long to get used to it.

Your dentist at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center can explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type of retainer much more clearly. They will give you precise instructions on how to care for your chosen retainer. It’s important to follow these instructions to avoid any chance of your teeth relapsing into their original positions, and to ensure all that effort spent straightening your teeth was well worth it.

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