People often don’t think about what needs to be done after completing treatment with braces or aligners. However, it is during this period that it is important to maintain the achieved effect. Here, retainers come in handy – custom-made devices in the form of caps that are worn on the teeth. In addition to fixing teeth in the correct position, they have many accompanying benefits for adults and children.

Why are Retainers Needed?

Even after straightening teeth with braces or aligners, teeth retain their mobility. Gums, bones, and muscles need time to get used to their new position. Furthermore, daily habits, chewing, and teeth grinding also affect the position of the teeth. As a result, this can lead to the teeth moving back into an incorrect position and, as a result, problems with the bite.

Retainers or retention caps act as a fixator that holds the teeth in the right place and prevents them from moving. Orthodontists prescribe retainers at the final stage of treatment and it is desirable to wear them as long as possible, sometimes even for life, to avoid reoccurring problems with the bite, crowding of teeth, etc.

It should be noted that in very rare cases after orthodontic treatment, retainers may not be necessary. However, for this, the patient must have an ideal “puzzle”, where the temporomandibular joints are in the perfect position, normalized function of all muscles, normalized sizes of jaws, dental rows, and occlusal planes, normalized movements of the lower jaw, normalized respiratory tract patency, and tongue position. It is also important not to have harmful habits and chronic spinal problems. And these are not all conditions.

What Types of Retainers Exist?

Today in orthodontic practice, two main types of retainers are used – fixed or non-removable and removable retainers. Sometimes dentists use a combination of these two types of caps to maintain the necessary alignment of teeth.

So, fixed, non-removable retainers are made of metal wire and are attached to the teeth with special glue. Accordingly, the patient cannot remove and wear them independently. Sometimes such retention caps are used directly on the front lower or upper teeth to prevent them from moving over time.

Today, patients of the Yarema Dental clinic in Kyiv often prefer non-removable retainers, as they perform their functions 24/7 and are quite inconspicuous to others. They are recommended primarily to patients with a high likelihood of re-displacement of teeth. But such retainers also have their drawbacks:

  • patients may feel discomfort due to their constant contact with the tongue;
  • they require special hygienic care with regular use of dental floss, for cleaning the metal wire, and periodic professional cleaning by a hygienist. Otherwise, tartar formation or gingivitis may develop.

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Removable retainers can be independently worn and removed from the teeth. Specifically, these are Hawley Retainers, which are custom-made for each patient from plastic or acrylic and metal wire. Their advantage is in durability and effectiveness. However, they are more noticeable to others and can sometimes affect the patient’s speech.

Also removable are transparent Essix retainers. They are not as strong and durable as the previous ones. However, they are custom-made from molded plastic and are almost invisible to others.

An important advantage of both types of removable retainers is the ease of oral care. The removable design allows you to brush your teeth as usual, and the caps themselves can be cleaned separately with ordinary liquid soap or special cleaning agents and rinsed with warm water.

Useful Tips for Patients

To ensure that retention caps serve you for a long time, prevent their damage, as well as the loss of the retainer, if we are talking about a removable design. Here are a few simple tips for patients who have already installed or are planning to install retainers:

  • Remove retainers from the mouth during meals.
  • Store retainers in a case when not in use.
  • Do not chew gum while wearing retainers.
  • Never put them in your pocket or purse without a case.
  • Do not wrap retainers in a napkin, as they can be easily confused with trash and thrown away.
  • Keep them away from pets that can chew or damage the retainer.
  • Do not leave them near hot objects that can melt the retainers.
  • Always thoroughly brush your teeth with a brush and dental floss before putting the retainer back on.
  • In the case of a fixed retainer, also maintain proper oral hygiene and use dental floss in accessible places around it.

Specialists of the Yarema Dental dental clinic in Kyiv will gladly provide you with all the necessary information about retainers during an individual consultation. Write and call us if you are interested in this type of orthodontic treatment.

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Yarema Miklosh

Chief Medical Officer, orthopedic doctor

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Kyiv, Antonovycha str. 74,
(LC New York), from the yard


+38 068 479 97 77