Jan 19, 2012 12:31 PM
From Star Orthodontics
Orthodontic retainers are custom-made appliances, made usually of wires or clear plastic, that hold teeth in position after orthodontic treatment while assisting with the adjustment of the surrounding gums and changes in the bone. There are three different options for retainers and it's important to discuss with your orthodontist which retainer is the best option for you or your child. It's important that you're comfortable with your retainer because, after all, you'll be wearing it for a very long time to ensure your beautiful new smile lasts a lifetime!
These are removable retainers made of a metal wire that surrounds the teeth and is anchored in an acrylic arch that sits in the palate or lingual walls of the mouth. The advantage of this retainer is that the metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment or move teeth as needed. Hawleys are worn 24 hours a day for the 1st year of retention.
These are removable retainers made of a PVC material. This clear or transparent retainer fits over the entire arch of teeth. These retainers are easier to wear and less conspicuous than Hawley retainers, but are more apt to need replacing because the PVC material is prone to breakage and deterioration over time. Essix are worn every night for the first year of retention.
A bonded retainer is not removable, taking some of the responsibility of retainer wear off of the individual. It is a fixed wired bonded to the lingual surface (tongue-side) of the teeth. Typically prescribed where orthodontic treatment has affected great changes in the bite and there is high risk for reversal of these changes. Fixed retainers require meticulous cleaning to maintain oral health.