What are Dental Retainers?

As a means of helping to improve the appearance of teeth, dental retainers play an important role. Designed to help realign teeth into an even and straight configuration, these devices are usually worn for a period of time that is specified by an orthodontist. There are a couple of different types in use today. Here is some information about retainers and their use in orthodontic practice.
Dental retainers are sometimes used as a follow up mode of treatment for persons who have worn braces for an extended period of time. With this application, they are employed as a means of reinforcing the process of realigning the teeth into permanent positions. This process was begun with the braces, but the retainer helps to complete the final stage of the procedure. Because dental retainers are often made of casts that fit snugly over the teeth, they help to keep the teeth in line after the braces have been removed, allowing more time for the slight gaps between the teeth to settle into a more natural configuration. In some cases, these devices are worn during the night, but not required during the daytime.
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Another application of dental retainers has to do with helping to correct an underbite or overbite. Along with helping to align individual teeth properly, they also help to bring the two rows of teeth more into a natural alignment. Normally, retainers of this type are worn around the clock, at least for a period of time. However, orthodontists vary on the duration of this constant wear. Often, the duration is determined by considering such factors as the severity of the overbite and the general condition of the teeth. In just about all cases, the period of constant wear is followed by a period in which dental retainers are worn only at night.
While dental retainers were once rather bulky and uncomfortable, the new models of today are often hard to detect. Many are made of a strong clear resin that fits snugly over the teeth, but does not add much in the way of bulk to the mouth. Also, advances have made it possible for the wearer to be much more comfortable than in years past. As a means of correcting dental issues and providing more people with a healthy and straight set of teeth, dental retainers provide a solution that is moderately priced and treatment that is almost always effective.

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