Teeth Retainers: How they Work, Types & Uses

Teeth Retainers: How they Work, Types & Uses

You're nearing the final stages of your journey to a celebrity smile. You're taking the final strides to complete your clear aligner treatment, but the journey isn't over yet. Incoming: Teeth Retainers.

We KNOW you would have been told in one of your initial consults that there would be a period after your treatment where you would be required to wear a retainer. But we also realise that you would have been hyper-focused on the duration of your aligner treatment, the result and not anything that follows.

Not to worry—we're here to give you the complete rundown on teeth retainers, including how they work, retainer types, and uses. So strap in because you have some genuinely riveting information heading your way, including how much retainers cost, how long you need to wear them, types of retainers, and how to protect your orthodontic investment.

So, let’s start from the beginning:

What are Retainers?

Retainers are a post-orthodontic treatment method used to maintain your glorious new smile. 



What do Retainers do?

There's an obvious reason they're called retainers… they 'retain' that stunning, marvellous, eye-catching accessory that is your post-orthodontic treatment smile. But we'll elaborate, just in case you need more info.

Some of our patients' most commonly asked questions are 'What do retainers do?' and 'Do I really need to wear a retainer?'

Wearing retainers combat teeth' natural tendency to move. So, unless you want your teeth to return to their previous positions, you will need to wear an orthodontic retainer, darl. 

It takes time for your gums, bones and muscles to adapt to your new and improved grin. So, while everyone adjusts to their new normal, you need to prevent a relapse by wearing your dental retainers.

Retainers for dummies would go something like this: Orthodontic treatment straightens your teeth, but wearing a retainer keeps them that way.



How Much Do Retainers Cost?

Ahh, yes, this is the one question that is truly a determining factor for several oblivious patients who stubbornly think they're done with treatment once their aligners come off. 

There are a couple of options for teeth retainers, each with its own set of benefits (which we'll get to later), and with them come differing price points.

Now, we can't speak for anyone else, but the Bitesoft Co removable teeth retainers are a modest $130 for the set of $65 for the top arch and $65 for the bottom arch (for those who only have treatment done to one row of teeth - find out more about that unique offering here).

As far as bonded retainers go, Bitesoft Co costs range between the $600-$750 mark, depending on which clinic is local to the patient. With care, these can last up to 10 years!

How Long Do You Need to Wear a Retainer For?

Simply put: FOREVER.

Or until the time when you're sick of having a straight set of chompers and would prefer to revert to whatever state your teeth were in prior to treatment. 

Look, using the term 'forever' may have been coming on a little too strong. However, our specialists recommend that retainers be worn vigilantly for six weeks following your treatment, as this is the passive healing phase. Here's what they recommend: 

Two weeks post-treatment: 22 hours per day

Third and fourth-week post-treatment: 18 hours per day

Fifth and sixth week post-treatment: 12-14 hours per day

After those six weeks, maintain your smile by wearing your retainer for at least 8 hours per day indefinitely to avoid movement or change. 

Now, we're not oblivious to our patients wanting a night off or worrying about putting their retainers in on a first 'sleepover' event with a new beau or partying all night long and heading straight to their day job without a wink of sleep(no judgement here). So, missing a day here and there would be fine if you don't do them a few days in a row and always get your retainers back in ASAP.



Types of Retainers

When it comes to the types of retainers out there, you essentially have two choices.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers, also known as bonded or permanent retainers, take out indefinite residency in your mouth. Most often made from wire, they're secured to your teeth with a glue-like bonding agent, preventing your teeth from moving. Fixed retainers are a life-long commitment but are also extremely low maintenance. EXCEPT when it comes to flossing - flossing around, under and in between teeth that are held together with a fixed retainer becomes a chore in itself each morning and night.

Removable Retainers

Like clear aligners, removable retainers are custom-made to suit your teeth. They must be worn for a certain number of hours daily but can be removed for eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth—you know the drill by now. 

Due to the nature of removable retainers, there are some risks associated with them. These include but aren't limited to:

People tend to lose their retainers. 

Dogs enjoy eating their owners' retainers. 

Retainers don't enjoy extreme heat, and you can disfigure them by drinking your morning hot beverage of choice before removing them.

Removable retainers also have a general lifespan of 6-12 months, meaning that you must consider replacement costs for all these things.

Look, beyond a few maintenance and lifestyle adjustment issues, the benefits of using retainers far outweigh any negatives associated with them. Said benefits include:

Maintaining the treatment results: Wearing a retainer helps to hold the teeth in their new place after orthodontic treatment, so treatment effects are maintained over time.

Protecting the investment: Any orthodontic treatment will cost you a pretty penny, so you want to keep that investment intact. Do so by wearing your custom retainer! 

Improving oral health: Straighter teeth are ultimately cleaner teeth. Using a retainer keeps the teeth in the correct position, making it easier to brush and floss properly, reducing the risk of cavities and improving oral hygiene.

Comfort: We're about to toot our own horn here shamelessly, but our retainers are made from Zendura FLX and are designed to be as comfortable. Our retainer is based on your final alignment, so WE KNOW your smile is set to last!

The Bitesoft Co retainers are also easy to clean and maintain, allowing you to wear them for up to a year without replacing them.

In conclusion, we’d like to re-iterate what we’ve already mentioned in this post. Orthodontic treatment gives you straight teeth but it’s wearing a retainer that gives you a lasting result. Whether you choose a fixed or removable retainer the Bitesoft Co team is here to help you navigate your decision to suit your lifestyle.

Our final professional opinion?

Wear your retainer.

You’re welcome.

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