Dental retainers after braces and other orthodontia help make sure teeth don’t go back to their previous position. Let our team at Pathway Dental Group help you get a new retainer.

Your Retainer Dentist in Santa Barbara County, CA

A retainer is a fixed or removable appliance that’s custom-made to fit your teeth. You may have a retainer made from see-through plastic or a thin metal wire. Typically, the goal of wearing a retainer is to make sure teeth don’t move back to their original position after you get your braces off or finish other orthodontic treatment.

Our dentists can help you find a retainer that works for you. We’ll talk through how long you should wear it based on your condition and age.

a set of clear aligners being held on the fingers of a patient
  • What types of retainers are available?

    There are different retainers available. The one that benefits you depends on your dental issue. These are the most common types of retainers:

    • Hawley retainer — A metal wire on an acrylic arch that fits in the palate of the mouth.
    • Essix — A vacuum-formed retainer (VFR) made of clear plastic that fits over the teeth.
    • Fixed retainers — A single wire affixed to the tongue side of a few teeth when they are more likely to move.
  • What do I need to consider when using a retainer?

    Remember the following for proper retainer use and maintenance:

    • Don’t lose your retainer — Put your retainer in its case while you eat, drink and brush. That way, you don’t accidentally throw it away and have to buy a new retainer.
    • Don’t eat while wearing a retainer — Eating while wearing your removable retainer can be challenging and even damage the appliance. Remove the retainer each time you eat.
    • Clean the retainer properly — Your removable retainer can get plaque and bacteria buildup easily. Clean it as much as possible. You can clean Hawley and Essix retainers with your toothbrush. You can also use denture cleaner or retainer cleaner for Essix retainers.
    • Wear the retainer as directed — It’s super important to wear your retainer based on your dentist’s recommendation. While it might be tempting not to wear your retainer after your braces are off, retainers help give your muscles, tissues and bones time to adjust to their new alignment. Not wearing the retainer as directed can mean your teeth shift, which results in additional costs and orthodontic treatment.
  • How do you know when it's time to replace your retainer?

    Retainers are durable, but they don’t last forever. You should replace your retainer if it feels loose or tight or you see cracks. Wearing a broken or warped retainer can damage your smile. So, contact us as soon as possible.

More Questions?

If you have more questions about retainers, or if you would like to request an appointment or contact our office and we will be happy to discuss further.