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The world of dental care is constantly evolving – and with it so are the dental products on offer. But when some of them look like identical clones of each other, it can be hard to tell them apart. Invisible braces and retainers are two such dental devices often confused with each other.
Here’s the ultimate Zenyum guide to help you distinguish between the two.
What are invisible braces?
Invisible Braces are clear plastic aligners that are used to straighten teeth. They do this by gradually applying gentle pressure and moving your teeth to the desired position. Since they are made from transparent material they are nearly invisible to the eye and are often preferred over their metal alternatives.
Invisible Braces have garnered wide popularity thanks to their discreet and unobtrusive appearance.
They are removable and should be taken out before eating or drinking. They are also less painful than conventional braces as there are no tight wires — or resultant ulcers — involved in the process.
Invisible Braces combine 3D visualisation, printing and thermoforming technology to produce a superior solution for teeth straightening. Many companies, from established brands to aspiring startups are borrowing these advanced technologies to produce clear aligners at different price points.
But not all Invisible Braces providers are made equal. Find out if Invisible Braces are for you with a quick pre-assessment.
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What are retainers?
Retainers are an orthodontic device that look like Invisible Braces but are used at the end of a clear aligner treatment, or any teeth straightening treatment.
Their job instead of moving teeth, is to keep them in place. Unlike Invisible Braces, retainers aren’t meant to be worn for 20-22 hours a day, but only during night time (around 10 hours).
You can get fixed retainers and also removable, invisible ones. Fixed retainers come with a wire attached to the surface of the teeth, they can only be removed by the dentist and require less discipline. While removable retainers come with a certain amount of flexibility and are a more sustainable, long term solution ensuring your teeth remain in place!
Why do I need to wear retainers?
It’s absolutely imperative that you wear retainers post orthodontic treatment or you can risk relapse. Ligament and fibres attach our teeth to the gums, making sure they are well rooted in place. During aligner treatment the pressure exerted by the braces causes these fibres and ligaments to loosen. Once you remove your braces the bone around the shifted teeth is still soft.
Wearing retainers ensures that your teeth don’t shift into the soft bone mass. Teeth also tend to shift away over time, so retainers help keep them in place. Make sure that the perfect smile you have worked so hard to achieve remains as is!