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About Retainers

Keep Your Smile

One day in the not-too-distant future, your braces or Invisalign treatment will be complete. But, even on this happy occasion, please remember that you’re not quite done with orthodontic treatment yet: the next phase, called retention, is just beginning.

But if your teeth are straight now, why do you need a retainer at all? Studies have shown that without retainers, straight teeth can sometimes gradually shift back towards their initial position. Also, shifting teeth can occur from simple aging and wear and tear of your teeth. Wearing retainers can easily overcome any relapse tendencies, protect your teeth from wear, and keep your smile looking awesome!

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Types of Retainers

There is no one perfect retainer choice for everyone. Read about each of the types Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics provides below to find out more.

Clear Retainer

These removable, clear retainers are custom-fit to your teeth and fit just like a mouthguard. We take an impression in our office and our lab technicians fabricate your retainer in our on-site lab. Clear retainers are good for patients that want a more discreet appliance. They are generally easier to wear than traditional wire retainers, but may not last as long if the patient grinds their teeth together.

Permanent Retainers

This type of retainer is actually a metal wire bonded (glued) to the back of your teeth to keep them in place. They are not visible to others and do a great job maintaining your new, beautiful smile. Bonded retainers cannot be removed by the patient. Bonded retainers require more care to brush and floss your teeth, so special care must be taken to keep them clean and tarter-free. The best part is you will not lose it!

Traditional Metal Retainers

“Hawley” retainers are the most common type of retainer because they are durable, adjustable, and removable. A metal wire is mounted in an acrylic arch to keep it securely in the patient’s mouth. This retainer can be active to slightly move teeth or inactive to hold teeth in their current position. The acrylic comes in many fun colors!

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Retainer FAQs

Will I wear a retainer when my braces come off?

Almost always, the answer is yes: If you don’t wear a retainer, your teeth can rapidly shift out of position — and then all the effort put into your treatment is lost! Your retainer helps you maintain that good-looking smile for a lifetime.

How long do I have to wear my retainer?

Retainers must be worn every night for the first year in order to hold your teeth in their proper, new position while your gums, ligaments, and bones adapt. Typically, after one year, Dr. Dunegan or Dr. Cole will recommend you switch to every other night.

What is a Vivera Retainer?

From the makers of Invisalign, Vivera retainers are clear, comfortable plastic retainers designed to hold your smile in place after orthodontic treatment. Whether you wore Invisalign or traditional braces, Vivera retainers are custom-made to fit your teeth and preserve your smile after orthodontic treatment. When it is time to get your braces off, we will give you 4 sets of Vivera retainers. We understand that occasionally patients lose retainers or they get broken. You will always have backups with the Vivera retainer program. Clear, plastic retainers also dull over time. When this happens, you can replace your old retainer with a new clear one — without the hassle of an office visit.

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