Metal retainer can keep your teeth from moving after they have been straightened with braces. It is necessary to use retainers after you have straightened your teeth with either braces or aligners, this is to ensure that your teeth do not move back to their former position, which is known as having a relapse. There are several types of retainers. Your dentist will help you pick the best type based on your need. In this article, we are going to talk about metal retainers, what they are, their benefits, and how to use them.
WHAT IS A RETAINER?
Retainers are removable orthodontic devices that are made of either plastic or metal, customized to fit both the upper and lower teeth. The main purpose of a retainer is to help you keep your teeth straight after your period of wearing braces or using aligners has elapsed.
However, they can be used to help people with temporomandibular disorder (TMD), that is, people with bitting or teeth grinding problems.
HOW LONG DO I NEED A RETAINER?
Orthodontists prefer to prescribe wearing a removable retainer after treatment with braces for at least 9 months every day before you can then cut it down to a nightly routine.
However, throughout life, our teeth are always moving as the location of our teeth changes based on factors like age.
That is where the use of a retainer comes in. To avoid this change in the movement of your teeth from occurring, you need to wear retainers and just because your orthodontic treatment is finished, it does not mean your teeth are going to stay in place and you no longer need a retainer.
As a matter of fact, you never stop needing a retainer, though you may need to replace it after a couple of years.
WHAT IF I DON’T WEAR MY RETAINER?
If you don’t wear your retainer, especially after your braces treatment, your teeth will tend to move back to their former position, making your initial dental treatment a waste, and you might need an orthodontic intervention either sooner or years to come. This might also lead to you having a bruised tooth.
TYPES OF RETAINERS
There are basically 3 types of retainers:
(1) Permanent retainers
(ii) Clear plastic retainers
(iii) Hawley retainers.
Other retainer type exists, like the bounded, fixed, and metal retainer, but these are the basic types and all are removable retainers except the permanent retainer.
Metal retainers are the traditional retainers you know. They are very common and just as effective as any other retainers. These retainers are durable, removable, and can last long.
Hawley retainers are considered the “classic” metal retainers. They are made of plastic or acrylic and metal wire.
This type of retainer is sculpted to specifically fit the contours of your mouth, although they can be invasive and cause soreness during the first period when you wear them, you get comfortable with them and this goes away.
HOW TO WEAR A METAL RETAINER
(1) Identify what part of the retainer is for your lower or upper teeth: The plastic arch in the center of the retainer should be pointing up or down, facing the row of teeth it is to hold in place. Make sure that the metal strip is not pointing at your mouth.
(2) Place the retainer in your mouth: Use a mirror to do this while opening your mouth wide enough, so you don’t make a mistake. Don’t use a lot of force as that might hurt your gums if you did not place it correctly.
(3) Push the retainer into your teeth: Do this immediately after placing the retainer correctly in your mouth and make sure it fits perfectly. If it doesn’t fit perfectly, you can call your dentist as it may just need a little bit of adjustment.
(4) Anchor the retainer firmly: Use your fingers to push the retainer into place, but do not bite down on it as this can cause damage to both your teeth and the retainer.
BENEFITS OF A METAL RETAINER
Metal retainers are best for everyone, though basic, they still get the job done. Although those who do not want their retainers to be noticeable will not opt for a metal retainer, it does come with some benefits which are:
(1) They are durable.
(2) Metal retainers are your best option if you have some jaw problems or you are prone to have teeth problems.
(3) It can be adjusted to give you the perfect fitting.
(4) They do not cost much.
CLEANING A METAL RETAINER
Just like your natural teeth, you also need to make sure you clean your retainers so you don’t incorporate bacteria into your mouth when you wear your retainer.
You can clean your metal retainer with lukewarm water every time you take it out. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste, carefully scrub every part of the retainer at least once a day.
If you find food particles that get stuck on your metal retainer, you can use a clean cotton swab dipped in clean water to wipe off the food particle.
If your orthodontist recommends, you could get a special soaking product to work your retainer with, but do not boil your retainer.
Broadly speaking, metal retainers are more durable and more fitting than other types of retainers. They provide a solid experience that will result in a beautiful confident smile, keeping your teeth just in place.
However, your doctor should be the one to pick a suitable retainer for you.