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Orthodontic retainers

There are many types of retainers in orthodontics. The retainers or “appliances” that are used after orthodontic treatments are of vital importance to maintain the result of the orthodontic treatment, whether it was with some bracket technique or with aligners. There are many types of retainers, fixed, removable or acetate “guard” type. Fixed retainers are usually worn on the lower anterior teeth (the front teeth in the lower arch) and consist of resin cementing a special “wire” to the lingual aspect of the teeth (the back, the facing the tongue), this type of retainer is not always recommended since it makes it difficult to maintain oral health, a lot of plaque accumulates and a lot of calculus (tartar) forms. Not all orthodontists agree with this technique, for example. explained above, but its advantage is that, as it is not removable, it keeps the teeth in place, and as long as the patient has good enough dental hygiene habits and attends their dental cleanings regularly, there should not be any major complications. .

Another type of retainers that are used more frequently, and perhaps the first that come to mind when we talk about retainers, are made of acrylic and special wires, the longer they are used, the better results they will give, it is recommended to remove them only to eat, brush your teeth and replace them. The main disadvantages with these retainers are that they are a little uncomfortable at first, they make speech difficult the first few days and they are not aesthetic at all, so people tend to use them less, lose them, keep them in their bags and fracture, bend or leave them “only for the nights” and eventually stop using them completely. Another type of retainers are those that are acetate “guards”. They are also removable retainers, they also require some adaptation time and can be uncomfortable when speaking in the first few days, just like acrylic retainers, ideally they should be worn all day and removed only to eat.

Unlike acrylic retainers, they are highly aesthetic, almost imperceptible, since the acetate is transparent, and patients report feeling more comfortable with acetate retainers than with acrylic ones, but, as in the vast majority of dental treatments, Each case is different, and it will be the orthodontic specialist who decides together with the patient which option will work best in their case. And if it is one of the removable options, the specialist will also give instructions on care, cleaning, use and everything that each patient should know about their new retainers.

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