The Difference Between Braces and Retainers

Article by Remarkable Smiles

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, two common appliances are braces and retainers. While both are used to address dental alignment issues, they serve distinct purposes and are employed at different stages of treatment. Understanding the difference between braces and retainers is essential for individuals undergoing orthodontic care. Let’s delve into the specifics of each appliance to shed light on their unique functions.

Braces, often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about orthodontic treatment, are devices designed to correct teeth misalignment and malocclusion. They consist of metal brackets affixed to the teeth using special dental adhesive. These brackets are connected by archwires that apply gentle pressure to guide the teeth into their desired positions. Braces can be further enhanced with elastics or rubber bands that aid in jaw alignment correction. The duration of braces treatment can vary depending on the severity of the dental issues, typically ranging from a few months to a few years.

On the other hand, retainers play a crucial role in maintaining the results achieved through braces or other orthodontic interventions. Once the braces are removed, retainers are customized appliances that are fitted to the patient’s teeth. Retainers are usually made of clear plastic or metal wires and are designed to hold the teeth in their newly aligned positions. They ensure that the teeth do not shift back to their original misaligned state. Retainers can be removable or fixed (bonded) behind the teeth. The retention period can vary from a few months to several years, depending on the recommendation of the orthodontist.

While braces are actively working to move the teeth, retainers provide a passive function of maintaining the achieved alignment. It is important to follow the orthodontist’s instructions regarding the wear and care of retainers to ensure the long-term success of the orthodontic treatment. Failure to wear retainers as directed may result in teeth shifting back towards their original positions, requiring additional orthodontic intervention.

Dr. Mark Rashidi and the Remarkable Smiles team are available to provide professional guidance in determining the most suitable option between braces and retainers. As an esteemed orthodontist in Laguna Hills , Dr. Rashidi serves patients from various cities including Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Irvine, and more. With extensive expertise in orthodontic treatments, Dr. Rashidi offers a wide range of options, including ceramic braces, traditional metal braces, and Invisalign, to cater to individual needs and preferences.