Retainers in Atlanta, GA
At Patel & Womble Orthodontics, we love to see the excitement on our patient’s faces when they see their new smile. Whether you are from Norcross, McDonough, or elsewhere around Atlanta, our board-certified orthodontists have the experience to ensure that your orthodontic treatment will be successful. As part of each treatment plan, many patients will require a retainer to maintain the investment and position of their teeth after wearing braces.
What Is a Retainer?
A retainer is a device that helps you maintain your current teeth positioning without relapse after your braces have been removed. Retainers can be removable or permanent (cemented into place.) Almost every patient will need to wear a retainer after completing their orthodontic treatment. Otherwise, the muscle memory around your teeth can cause them to “bounce back” to their previous location.
Why Do I Need to Wear a Retainer?
Retainers are usually necessary because your teeth may shift or move following the removal of your braces. The retainer allows your teeth to adapt to their new position, as they are no longer being moved. For children and teenagers, their teeth can also change position as part of their natural growth or development of wisdom teeth. Retainers and similar types of appliances may be prescribed by Dr. Ruchir R. Patel or Dr. Brian A. Womble to manage problems, such as some speech disorders, small gaps between teeth, tongue thrusting, or TMJ pain caused by clenching or grinding.
Types of Retainers
Each patient at Patel & Womble Orthodontics will receive their own customized assessment to determine the best type of retainer for their specific circumstances. These options usually include one of the following types of retainers:
- Hawley Retainer: A removable retainer that is composed of a plastic mouthpiece that fits snugly inside your mouth along the lower or upper arches. This appliance uses a thin wire to securely hold your teeth in place, but it is easy to remove when you need to brush, floss, or eat.
- Clear Retainer: These clear, removable retainers are custom-made to cover all of your teeth. Similar to whitening trays or an Invisalign® alignment tray, this type of retainer maintains the position of your teeth but is nearly invisible.
- Permanent Retainer: Non-removable retainers are composed of a sturdy wire bonded to the back of your teeth. It provides constant support and doesn’t require you to keep track of your retainer between meals or at bedtime.
Getting Fitted for and Wearing a Retainer
Everyone will be fitted for a retainer on the same day that their braces are removed. All that is needed is an impression of your teeth. After biting into a tray filled with thick liquid, the “goopy” material solidifies into a semi-solid mold of your teeth. We use this mold to create a model of your bite and fit your new retainer to it so that it will snap perfectly into place over your teeth.
The thin design of your retainer makes it easy to get used to, although you may notice a slight change in your speech at the very beginning. Be sure to wear your retainer regularly, as it may become difficult or too tight to wear if you go several days without it.
Caring for Your Retainer
Take a look at our retainer instructions and foods to avoid for helpful hints to make your removable or permanent retainer last as long as possible. Your retainer should last for several years if you take care of it.
How Long Do I Need to Wear a Retainer After Braces?
The answer to this question will vary depending on the assessment made by Dr. Patel or Dr. Womble. We will determine your individual risk of tooth movement after your braces are removed. Some people wear retainers for a few years, while others wear them for decades. In the beginning, you will want to wear your retainer all day, every day. When directed by our orthodontists, you can shift to only wearing your retainer when you sleep.
How Much Does a Retainer Cost in Atlanta?
Your retainer is part of the overall cost of braces. If you lose or break a retainer, you may need to pay to get it replaced. Since dental insurance may not cover a second retainer, you might be interested in taking advantage of dental financing through CareCredit® or OrthoFi.
Experienced Orthodontist in McDonough and Norcross
Finding the right board-certified orthodontist in McDonough, Norcross, or the Atlanta area can make all the difference in creating the perfect smile for you or your child. However, there can be an array of options to choose from. The preferred Invisalign® providers at Patel & Womble Orthodontics can walk you through the details and help you find the right type of braces for your smile and how to keep it straight with orthodontic retainers. Contact us today.