Park Slope Orthodontics
Peter Jahn'Shahi, DDS
Orthodontist located in Brooklyn, NY
Maintaining your newly, aligned smile is very important. At his practice, Park Slope Orthodontics, Dr. Jahn’Shahi can help patients in and around Brooklyn and New York City transition from braces to retainers smoothly, ensuring their beautiful smiles last a lifetime.
Retainers Q & A
What are Retainers?
A retainer is a customized orthodontic device which is used to hold the teeth in position following treatment with braces. Retainers are recommended when a person’s braces are removed to ensure the teeth remain in the corrected alignment. The retainer is made of either wire and plastic or solid plastic. While the teeth are settling into the jaw and soft tissues of the mouth, the retainer will ensure that the work done with the braces is maintained. Retainers also help teeth stay in place as a person ages. Wearing a retainer as instructed is important to maintaining teeth alignment.
What Types of Retainers Are There?
There are three types of retainers:
- Clear Retainers- These retainers are made of vacuum-formed plastic. These are less noticeable but do not last as long as Hawley retainers.
- Fixed Retainers- Also referred to as bonded or permanent, fixed retainers are attached directly to the backsides of a person’s teeth. The retainer does not go around the person’s entire mouth, just the front six teeth. Light is used to set the bonding gel which holds a thin wire in place. The bonding gel is shaved down to ensure the patient can comfortably close his or her mouth.
- Hawley Retainers- This is the most common type of retainer and uses wires and clasps embedded in a plastic body. The retainer covers the roof of a person’s mouth, and the retaining bow wire fits across the front of a person’s teeth to hold them in place.
How Long Do Retainers Have to Be Worn?
Most doctors will want to monitor the progress of a patient’s teeth for a year or so after the braces are removed.The patient will wear the retainer throughout this period. Depending on the patient and the severity of the correction completed with braces, the doctor will recommend full or part-time wear. Over the following 12-24 months, the dentist will monitor the stability and health of the teeth.
How are retainers installed?
Dr. Jahn’Shahi fits his patients for retainers as soon as their braces are removed and the teeth are corrected. He will take impressions of the patient’s teeth and mouth, then send the mold to a laboratory for the retainer to be tailor-made to fit the patient’s mouth exactly. The patient will return to the office, and Dr. Jahn’Shahi will check to make sure the retainer fits the patient’s mouth. The doctor will either use a non-toxic bonding agent to cement the retainer in place if it is a fixed retainer or gives the patient instructions on how to insert, remove, and care for the retainer.