We all know that one day those braces will come off. At that time, your
orthodontist creates your new retainer. The retainer is an important part
of the teeth-straightening process. If you do not wear the retainer prescribed
by your orthodontist, your teeth go back to their earlier placement. Your
teeth will line up exactly as they looked before you got braces. Your
teeth are held in place by periodontal ligaments. It takes a long time
for the periodontal ligaments to adjust when the teeth are straightened.
Therefore, orthodontists create retainers to keep your teeth straight,
in perfect alignment.

Basically, your orthodontist has a choice of three different types of retainers.
As a patient, this is not something you get to choose. The orthodontist
chooses the best retainer for each patient. Some of the retainers are
removable and others are permanently attached. Retainers which are permanently
attached, can only be removed by an orthodontist. The orthodontist creates
the retainer the day your braces are removed. Through the use of plaster
impressions and x-rays, the orthodontist determines which retainer works
best for each patient.

There are three basic types of retainers. The Hawley retainer is the most
common retainer, preferred by many orthodontists. Molded to fit your mouth,
the retainer has a piece of wire used to keep your teeth in perfect alignment.
The acrylic retainer is easily removed. It can easily be altered or customized;
just incase those perfectly aligned teeth start to move out of alignment.
This is the most common retainer, preferred by many orthodontists.

The clear plastic retainer is often the first choice for some patients.
If you grind your teeth, your orthodontist will probably not choose this
retainer. This clear plastic retainer is not as durable as the acrylic
Hawley retainer. However, this clear plastic retainer is often preferred
by many patients. This type of retainer is nearly invisible; so no one
will be able to notice you are wearing a retainer.

The third type of retainer is a bonded or fixed retainer. This type of
metal retainer is permanently bonded to your teeth. However, this retainer
is not visible, as it is placed behind your teeth. This retainer is typically
used on the bottom front teeth. The bottom front teeth commonly move back
to their original position. Those bottom front teeth need a little more
help; that is why we use the fixed retainer.