Why you need retainers after your invisible braces treatment

16 December 2022

Preview of Zenyum Clear Retainers

You’ve done it. After the 6-9 months of wearing your invisible braces for 20-22 hours a day you just can’t stop staring at your new, straight set of teeth in the mirror.

We hate to break it to you, but the work does not end here. It does get easier though. Your teeth are in constant movement because the bone around your teeth are still soft from the invisible braces treatment. 

To counter that, you need to retain your perfect smile with… retainers. 

The importance of wearing retainers

Teeth rebounding after braces

After wearing your clear aligners, your teeth might have a tendency to “rebound” or go back to their old position as a result of muscle memory. Retainers help prevent this by putting just enough pressure (much less than from braces) on your teeth so they can “retain” their position.  

Regardless of the type of teeth straightening treatment, you need to wear retainers to maintain the position of your teeth. They need to be worn until your teeth positions stabilise.

 That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that you wear retainers in the year after invisible braces.

What are the types of retainers?

Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of the different types of retainers you can find: 

 

 Type of Retainers

 Pros

 

  Cons

Wire/Hawley retainers

  • Durable

  • Not aesthetically pleasing

Clear retainers

  • Aesthetically pleasing

  • Causes less discomfort

  • Requires more specific maintenance

Fixed retainers

  • “Set and forget” 

  • Can be difficult to clean 

  • Can cause discomfort

Wire retainers

Close-up of a female wearing a set of Hawley/wired retainers

Aka the “hawley retainer”. These are the colourful plastic ones with a metal wire that going across your teeth you’d think of when you hear the word “retainer”. These ones are usually more durable throughout the years. But are not discreet (sometimes even unsightly) if you were to wear it during the day.

Clear retainers

Close-up of a person wearing a set of clear aligners

In recent years, clear retainers gained popularity as they are 3D-printed and fit closely to your teeth making them more comfortable. Compared to the typical wire retainers, these ones can barely be noticed and are more comfortable to wear. 

Fixed retainers

Close-up of a person wearing a set of fixed retainers

Fixed or permanent retainers are attached to the back of your teeth with adhesive. While the good news is that you won’t forget to wear them and your teeth won’t shift so easily, the bad news is that they can cause discomfort and can be difficult to clean.

How long do you have to wear retainers for?

In the initial stages of removing your braces, you are required to wear your retainers throughout the day. After 3 months, you’ll only need to wear them for about 8 hours at least.

Smile Tip: We recommend wearing them after you've brushed your teeth at night. You can remove them in the morning when you brush your teeth.

How to care for your clear retainers

Refrain from biting down on your retainers as you may cause them to crack and wear easier. Use chewies to secure them into place. If you’re a habitual teeth grinder, speak to your dentist about it. 

To clean them, apply a mild soap such as castile soap, or purchase proper cleaning tablets from your local drugstore.  

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This device or software is not intended to be used for any medical purpose (such as the detection, diagnosis, monitoring, management or treatment of any medical condition or disease). Any health-related information provided by this device or software should not be treated as medical advice. Please consult a physician for any medical advice required.

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