Orthodontic Retainers Carson CA

Orthodontic Retainers

Orthodontic Retainers in Carson

If you or your child has been wearing braces, or a minor adjustment is needed for the teeth, our knowledgeable orthodontist may recommend the use of a retainer.

What Is an Orthodontic Retainer?

A retainer is a dental device that helps to keep teeth in place after treatment of braces or Invisalign clear aligners. A retainer may also be used as a standalone treatment for other issues, such as an overbite, speech impediments, or breathing and snoring issues.

What Types of Retainers Are There?

There are two basic types of retainers: permanent and removable.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers, sometimes called lingual wire, fixed, or bonded, are usually constructed with metal wire made out of copper or titanium. Nickel is also sometimes used, but if you or your child has a nickel allergy, you should alert your orthodontist. Permanent retainers are durable and can last indefinitely.

The pros of permanent retainers include that they are fixed in place, so once they are there, you do not need to worry about them. They can't be lost like removable retainers. They are also extremely long-lasting. The cons are that they are harder to keep clean because they cannot be removed.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers consist of two basic types. The more traditional Hawley retainer is made with plastic or acrylic and metal wire. It can last up to 20 years if well-maintained. The Hawley retainer is adjustable and comes in different colors. Clear plastic removable retainers are made of see-through plastic or polyurethane. They last approximately six months to one year, sometimes longer. These are often chosen for their comfort and easy removal and cleaning.

The pros of removable retainers are that they can be removed and are thus a lot easier to clean and some patients find the clear retainers to be more comfortable. The major downside of removable retainers is that they can be easily misplaced and lost. The biggest problem is when a retainer gets lost and the patient becomes complacent and waits too long to get it replaced - this can cause unwanted problems such as teeth becoming crooked again.

Permanent Retainers Carson CA
Orthodontics Retainers Carson CA

What Is the Process for Getting a Retainer?

Generally speaking, patients who need retainers will be finishing up a course of treatment with traditional braces or Invisalign clear aligners. Sometimes, we see patients who previously had a retainer from another orthodontist, and they need the retainer adjusted or replaced. We will also sometimes recommend retainers for patients who do not need to go through a full treatment with braces. As already mentioned, retainers are sometimes used for other mouth-related issues such as speech impediments and snoring.

In all cases, our friendly orthodontist will begin by examining your mouth. Images such as dental x-rays or other 3D imaging might be used to determine teeth placement. We will then work with you to come up with the appropriate treatment plan using a retainer.

How Long Should a Retainer Be Worn?

How long and when a retainer should be worn depends on the specific circumstance of each patient. Permanent retainers are generally meant to be worn indefinitely or permanently. They cannot be removed by the patient and can last a long time with proper maintenance. Thus, they are worn 24/7.

Removable retainers may be worn 24/7 for a period of four to six months (or longer) after a treatment with traditional braces or Invisalign clear aligners. In many cases, retainers are worn indefinitely, but patients only need to wear them at night while sleeping. We will of course explain to you how often you should wear your removable retainer.

What Is the Proper Way to Clean a Retainer?

Our staff will teach you exactly how to clean the specific type of retainer you have been fitted with. In general, clean your retainer gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Make sure saliva is rinsed off of retainers that are removed. Removable retainers can be soaked in mouthwash to kill bacteria. For some retainers, it is recommended to use denture cleaner for cleaning, however this can cause yellowing of certain types of retainers. Once again, our helpful staff will be giving you specific cleaning instructions based on the type of retainer you or your child are fitted with.

How Much Does a Retainer Cost?

Retainers are fairly affordable and start at $100 and go up. The cost of a retainer depends on the type needed. Retainers are generally affordable and less expensive than braces or clear aligners. Permanent retainers typically cost more than removable retainers. Insurance will often cover the cost, or partial cost, of a retainer.

If you or your child needs a retainer, our qualified orthodontist can help. Contact us today for more information and a consultation.

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