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Orthodontic Retainers


Photo of colorful orthodontic retainers from Senestraro Family OrthodonticsFollowing the removal of your braces, or completing treatment with aligners, most patients will need to continue treatment with the use of a retainer. A retainer is used to keep your teeth in proper position after guided movement. For many, wearing a retainer is a crucial step to not lose the work completed.

Your retainer is created specifically to fit your mouth, so it is fabricated following the removal of your braces or the completion of your clear aligners. Dr. Seth Senestraro can review your retainer options, answer questions, and help you choose the appropriate appliance to fit your needs. At Senestraro Family Orthodontics, we offer three types of retainers.

Hawley Retainer


The most commonly used retainer is known as the Hawley. This retainer consists of an acrylic base with a metal wire that goes across the front of your teeth. The acrylic base uses metal clasps to hook around your back teeth, this will hold the retainer in place. A Hawley retainer can be used for both the upper and lower arch.

A Hawley retainer is created by first taking an impression of your teeth and gums in their new final position. Using an impression will help ensure that your Hawley retainer is both comfortable and effective. Your new Hawley retainer is removable, which offers the benefit of removing it when needed, such as when eating, playing sports or an instrument, but also requires your dedication to wearing it most of the time to be effective. With the proper care and maintenance, your Hawley retainer should last for many years.

Clear Plastic Retainer


Much like the Hawley retainer, a clear plastic retainer is both customized and removable. This option is newer in concept but has become increasingly popular quickly. Visually, the retainer is similar to a clear aligner, in that it is highly discreet. Many of our patients love it because most people will not notice you have your retainer in unless you point it out.

The difference between clear aligners and a plastic retainer, is that the retainer will not apply pressure to your teeth. Instead, it is designed to fit precisely over your teeth and maximize comfort. Overall, the clear plastic retainer is not as durable as Hawley retainers, but many of our patients find it to be more comfortable to wear, and prefer the discretion it provides.

Fixed Bonded Retainer


The third type of retainer is a fixed bonded retainer. As the name suggests, this type of retainer is a non-removable appliance. This fixed retainer consists of a thin wire that is bonded directly to the back surfaces of your anterior (front) teeth, meaning there is no visible wire. In most cases, a fixed bonded retainer is used to retain the teeth in the bottom arch.

For most patients, a fixed bonded retainer is recommended if you are at a higher risk for your teeth shifting back to their original position. Because this type of retainer is bonded to the back of your teeth, it is also very discreet. We typically keep the appliance in place for several months or more, to help you get through the period that teeth are most susceptible to movement following braces. After which, we will fabricate a removable retainer for long-term use.

Maintaining Your Retainer


Initially, you will be asked to wear your retainer full time, except while eating. After a few months, most of our patients only need to wear it at night, unless we tell you otherwise. To increase the longevity of your appliance, be sure to implement proper care and maintenance.
Basic care for your retainer includes:
•  Keep It Safe: When your not wearing it, keep it in its container to keep it safe.
•  Keep It Clean: When brushing your teeth, remove your retainer and brush it too, then rinse. Remove bacteria and debris.
•  Avoid High Heat: Heat can warp your retainer. Don’t leave it in cars or windowsills where it can become overheated.

If you have questions about retainers or would like to schedule an appointment, please don't hesitate to contact Senestraro Family Orthodontics at (503) 446-5815 today!


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