Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics provides retainers in Long Island, NY. Call us at one of our 5 locations in Port Jefferson Station, Wading River, SayvilleSmithtown, and Medford to learn more and schedule your appointment. 

Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, you still need to maintain your results. That’s where retainers come in. Our office will provide you with a retainer after we take your braces off. Sometimes we may use them to make small adjustments to your teeth, but their primary purpose is to keep your teeth from shifting in your mouth when braces are no longer holding them in place. Removable retainers are usually worn overnight, but in the first few months after getting your braces off, you need to wear them during daytime hours too.

Removable vs. Fixed Retainers

There are two different types of retainers, each with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. The first type is called a fixed retainer. With fixed retainers, a thin wire is bonded to the back of your teeth in order to hold them in place. As you might imagine, because these wires are permanent and cannot be removed, they are highly effective at maintaining the results of orthodontic treatment. On the other hand, since they cannot be removed, they can make brushing and flossing difficult. You’ll need to use a floss threader to clean between teeth and extra care is needed to remove plaque and food debris that can accumulate around the wire.

The other type of retainer is a removable retainer. There are two types of removable retainers, a Hawley, or an Essix removable retainer. Hawley retainers are made with plastic or acrylic material, with a metal wire attached to hold teeth in place. Essix retainers look like clear plastic aligners; they’re made with thin plastic that is fitted to your teeth, so they are discreet and comfortable to wear. Although removable retainers make oral hygiene easier than permanent retainers, they do need to be cleaned on a daily basis, as they can begin to harbor bacteria that can cause odor and tooth decay. A disadvantage of removable retainers is that they only work when they’re worn as instructed; patients who have trouble with compliance are likely to see their teeth begin to shift over time.

Which Type of Retainer Is Right for Me?

When deciding which type of retainer is right for our patients, we weigh their orthodontic needs with their lifestyle, personality, and preferences. For children and teens who are likely to forget to put their retainer in, a fixed wire retainer may be a better option than a removable one. For patients concerned about dental hygiene, a removable retainer might be the best solution. If budget is a concern, fixed retainers are the most cost-effective option. 

Of course, no matter what type of retainer you end up getting, it’s important to comply with your treatment plan and wear it as directed. When retainers aren’t worn, teeth are likely to move and orthodontic treatment may be needed again in the future. Patients who wear their retainers can prevent relapse from occurring, maintaining their beautiful smiles for a lifetime.

Call us today to schedule your appointment.