Dental retainers can help to straighten your teeth if you have a misaligned bite or crooked teeth. Retainers go hand in hand with dental braces. Braces help to create a pleasant smile while a retainer enables you to maintain a smile. Retainers come in handy in holding straightened teeth intact after dental braces; benefits of wearing retainers correctly according to your orthodontist’s order goes beyond holding teeth. Wearing retainers can also help to correct speech problems, especially for children. Get in touch with us at Encino Dentist to know how we can help you using retainers or available alternatives.

Wearing a Retainer

Retainers are often used in the last cycle of cosmetic dentistry. After the removal of dental braces, the teeth could end up shifting back to the initial position. To help avoid this, your orthodontist might recommend some retainers; in most cases, you will wear the retainers overnight or longer to help hold the straightened teeth in place and prevent them from shifting. Several benefits come with proper wearing of retainers:

Help Maintain Oral Hygiene

Dental retainers help to maintain straight teeth; straight teeth are easy to clean because they help reduce plaque build-up and the likelihood of accumulation of bacteria. Wearing retainers is particularly beneficial for children. When a child has straight teeth and a right bite, he/she will be able to chew food effectively. Chewing food well has its benefits because it promotes the production of saliva, which in turn leads to the production of more enzymes to help in digestion, which helps to reduce the plaque build-up, and cavities production.

Promotes Overall Health

When children and adults put on retainers correctly, the teeth are well aligned, and this reduces the risk of bad oral health. Bad oral health could enhance the impacts of diabetes. Therefore, wearing retainers in the right manner, brushing, flossing, and rinsing the teeth can help to counter the impacts of diabetes and other related ailments.

Enhances Breathing

Retainers can help to improve breathing, especially in children.  Retained can help to improve breathing, especially in children. Therefore, if your child has a snoring issue or difficulties in breathing while sleeping, retainers could help correct this problem. 

Improves Speech Impediment

Dental retainers also help with a speech impediment in children. The retainers can improve the placement of the tongue. Proper placement of the tongue will allow a child to form sounds efficiently, as they learn how to speak and express themselves.

Candidates for Dental Retainers

Orthodontic treatment focuses on preventing and correcting crooked teeth, a bad bite, and teeth spacing problems. The treatment is important to boost the health, function stability, and beauty of your teeth. Orthodontic appliances like retainers and braces help to align the jaw, correct crooked teeth, and improve sleep-related issues.  Retainers could help correct a wide range of dental issues. Signs that indicate that you or your child is a good fit for orthodontic devices include:

  • Habit and growth disorders including improper alignment of the jaws, which could lead to an abnormal meeting of the teeth resulting in TMD
  • Sleep issues like sleep apnea and snoring
  • Smile makeover or entire mouth reconstruction, which might require support
  • Late or an early loss of teeth, which could lead to problems in teeth spacing including crooked or impacted teeth and overcrowding
  • Oral habits that could lead to protruding teeth, including lip wedging, tongue thrusting, and finger sucking.
  • Difficulties in biting and chewing
  • Facial asymmetry or imbalance
  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Difficulties in breathing including breathing with the mouth

Crowded, irregularly placed, and protruding teeth usually lead to an unappealing appearance, which makes oral health difficulties. Poor oral hygiene could lead to other dental complications, including tooth loss, gum disease, tooth decay, and other secondary health issues. If left untreated, a poor bite could interfere with speech and chewing. Other likely complications of untreated dental alignment conditions include migraines, headaches, earaches, shoulder and neck pains, sleeping, and breathing problems.

Orthodontic treatment often starts from the age of seven years to fourteen years. The ideal placement of oral appliances like braces and retainers should take place between the age of 10 to 14 years when the mouth is still maturing, and the teeth can easily adapt to corrections. 

The typical appliances for children and teenagers are braces, space maintainers, and retainers. For most children and teenagers, treatment with braces can last for approximately 24 hours. For adults, the treatment with braces could last up to 28 months. Retainers then replace braces; since the teeth automatically tend to fall out of position, dentists recommend wearing of retainers for many years.

Early diagnosis and correction of dental alignment issues are good because treatment works best in children. However, adults are still good candidates for the correction of dental problems like overbites, underbites, crowded or crooked teeth, and improper jaw position.  However, adult treatment is more extended than treatment in children because adult bones are hard and have stopped growing.

Orthodontic treatment, like retainers, does not put any risk to mature people with healthy gums. However, the appliances could pose a risk to people with gum disease. People with gum disease could experience further complications, including tooth loss and additional gum damage. To help avoid these complications, people who suffer from gum disorder should undergo a periodontal evaluation before starting on the orthodontic treatment.

Types of Dental Retainers

Your dentist could recommend a permanent retainer, also known as a bonded or fixed retainer. The permanent retainer comprises a metal bar, which a dentist places behind your teeth to help prevent the teeth from shifting back to their original position before the installation of braces. The dentist bonds the retainers to your teeth, usually the four to six front teeth, using dental cement.

Your dentist could recommend dental retainers immediately after the removal of your dental braces or six months after the removal of the braces to ensure that your teeth remain properly- aligned.  It is possible to get dental retainers for both the lower and the upper teeth. However, in most cases, dentists recommend retainers only for the lower teeth; recommending retainers for the upper teeth increases the chance of immature breakage. The two most common types of dental retainers are wire retainers and clear retainers. 

Wire Retainer

Also known as Hawley retainer, wire retainer is the most commonly used type of dental retainer in orthodontic treatment. The retainer was developed in 1919 and has been in use since then. It is easy to identify this retainer because it has an iconic wire, which passes over the front teeth. It also comes with an acrylic plate, which sits on the roof of the mouth.  The retainer has two wire parts at the back to help keep in place after placement in your mouth. This retainer is an affordable option because as long as you do not lose it, you will not require a replacement often. 

The wire retainer helps to maintain the alignment of your front teeth after the removal of your braces. In most cases, you have to wear the retainers full time for three months after the removal of the braces. After three months, you can wear the retainers only at night and while at home for the next nine months. Thereafter, you could wear the retainers only at night. 

A wire retainer can last between 5 and 10 years; however, how long the device lasts will depend on the care that you give it to prevent it from breakage. You also have to ensure that you do not lose the retainer because this would call for a replacement. Mainly because of the materials used in making it, a wire retainer is more durable than a plastic retainer. A wire retainer is made from steel wire and acrylic; however, this does not mean that the retainer is resistant to damage or invisible. Whenever the retainer is not in your mouth, you should always place it in a case. Remember to remove your retainer while eating and clean it daily, as recommended by your dentist. 

Clear Retainer

The alternative name for a clear retainer is the Essix retainer. Many people prefer to wear clear retainers as opposed to wearing braces or permanent retainers. Just like Invisalign, clear retainers will have a minimal aesthetic impact on your smile; you can retain the beauty of your smile even as you undergo orthodontic treatment.  A clear retainer is a removable material made from clear plastic; the doctor makes the retainers to fit your unique dental arrangement. The retainers are available for upper and lower teeth and tend to be a cheaper option.

The main use of clear retainers is to hold the teeth and prevent them from moving after the removal of braces. It is easy to use clear retainers because you can remove them easily and clean them. In most cases, dentists advise patients to wear retainers during nighttime. Your dentist could recommend clear retainers alongside permanent retainers to ensure that your teeth will not slide out of place.

Clear retainers are affordable, and their cost ranges from $50 to $200 per set; with proper maintenance, the retainers can last for up to 5 years. You can avoid replacement costs by ensuring that you always clean the retainers and store them safely when you are not using them.

Choosing the Right Retainer

There are several types of retainers available; choosing the best retainer from the many options could feel like a daunting task. Most people go for permanent retainers because once the dentist places the retainer in place, you can forget that it exists and go about living your normal life. With permanent retainers, you do not have to worry about the caretaking that comes with removable retainers. Some of the benefits of permanent retainers are:

Less Noticeable

A dentist bonds permanent dental retainers to the back of your teeth. This is an advantage because the retainers are invisible to everyone else. A removable retainer will show a wire across the front of your teeth and make it obvious that you are wearing braces. This is not the case with permanent retainers.


Permanent retainers are also more convenient compared to removable retainers. You do not have to remove and wash a permanent retainer, and this reduces the risk of losing or breaking the retainers.


A permanent retainer is meant to last for a long time. Your dentist will install the retainers in such a manner that you will be comfortable and forget that you are wearing retainers. You will brush and floss your teeth normally and eat normally.

Maintaining and Cleaning Dental Retainers

If you have removable retainers, you will have to remove and clean them regularly. Retainers can hold millions of tiny bacteria, and if you do not clean them, your dental health will deteriorate over time. The cleaning method you adopt will depend on the type of retainer that you are wearing:

Cleaning Clear Retainers

You should remove the plastic retainer and clean the plaque off from both the inside and the outside of the retainer. It is advisable to use soap because toothpaste could damage the retainer.

Rinse the retainer with cold water and ensure that you remove all the soap to avoid getting a soapy taste in your mouth

Eventually, dry the clear retainer and place it back in your mouth.

Failing to clean your retainers regularly could lead to poor dental health, discoloration of the retainers, and a foul smell. Occasionally, it is advisable to conduct a deep cleaning of the retainer. Deep cleaning entails soaking the retainers in a glass of cool water with denture tablets in addition to regular cleaning. 

Cleaning Wire Retainers

Wire retainers could have metal pieces soldered on. If a retainer has these metal pieces, you should avoid soaking the retainer regularly because this could break down the solder and make the wire snap. You can occasionally soak the wire retainers; you should also use a soft brush to remove plaque that could have accumulated on the retainer.

Find an Experienced Dentist Near Me

If you need guidance on the best retainers that will serve you for a long time, you need the help of an experienced dentist. Encino Dentist provides reliable dental services that you can count on. Contact us at 818-650-0429 and speak to one of our dentists.