Braces vs Retainers: What are your Options?

Braces and retainers are the perfect pair. They are almost always used symbiotically while fixing an imperfect mouth and are critical in one’s treatment plan. Let us examine the purposes of each and whether or not they can each be used independently.

Let’s first begin with braces. Braces are a dental device that uses pressure to control and gradually shift a patient’s teeth into a certain position. This pressure is achieved by placing metal brackets, rings and arch wires to the teeth to create pressure . As a result, the pressure from the braces permanently changes the bone, muscle and gum structure of a tooth.

Now, the purpose of a retainer is all in its name. A retainer retains the work achieved by the braces.  After one successfully straightens their teeth, an orthodontist will create a retainer in order to make sure the teeth remain in its new place. It is extremely important that a patient continues to wear his or her retainer after the braces are removed. Otherwise, all the hard work, time, and money that went into the braces treatment may be undone. It is especially critical to remember to wear a retainer 6 months following treatment. 

There are different types of retainers. These include removable retainers, bonded retainers, or clear plastic retainers that clip on to teeth. The type of retainer one receives will depend on the specific patients needs. 

The question is, can a retainer be used independently to achieve a straight smile without braces? Unfortunately, a temporary retainer is rarely an effective solution to straighten teeth. It is possible in a very select few cases to correct slightly crooked or crowded teeth with a fixed or even removable retainer. However, this is far from the norm. And it definitely goes without saying that one should never  borrow a retainer and attempt to straighten their own teeth without the guidance of a trained orthodontist. Believe it or not, the internet is full of DIY teeth strengthening guides that include borrowing and  using old retainers. This can cause serious damage to teeth.

As always, make sure to consult with an experienced and certified and orthodontist who can properly diagnose and treat your dental concerns.

Our experienced and caring team at My Smile Orthodontics are ready and excited to help you achieve the beautiful smile you always wanted!

My Smiles Orthodontics 7505 Parsons Blvd, Flushing NY 11366 (718) 380-1230