What’s the Difference Between Braces and Retainers?
What are the Key Differences Between Braces and Retainers?
Are you happy with your smile?
No? Well, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 33% of American adults don’t like the way their teeth look.
When you’re unhappy with your smile, it affects the way you interact with others. After all, your smile is one of the first things people see when they meet you. A crooked smile can cause low self-esteem, contribute to poor body image, and heighten social anxiety levels.
Chances are you’ve had braces or a retainer, or you have a child that will need them. Nearly 75% of kids and teens have some sort of teeth alignment or spacing issue that should be treated by braces or a retainer.
Fortunately, there are several options on the market to straighten your teeth. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at braces and retainers.
But what is the difference between braces and a retainer? Read on to find out that and much more!
Braces and Retainers: A Quick Comparison Guide
Most people know that braces and retainers are meant to straighten out crooked teeth. But many people don’t know how these dental appliances differ. Let’s compare the two.
- Braces are cemented to your teeth during the treatment process. So you can’t take them out.
- Retainers are removable. You can pop them out whenever its time to eat or brush your teeth.
- Braces are made up of brackets that the dentist glues to the teeth. Stiff wires run over the top of the brackets. The wires apply pressure to the teeth and move them into place.
- Retainers can be made in two different ways:
- Clear, plastic retainers that fit over the entire tooth and go all the way around the teeth to the back of the mouth.
- A molded piece of plastic that fits into the roof of the mouth with an attached wire that runs over the front of the teeth.
- Braces are usually worn between 18-24 months. But each case is different depending on the severity of your dental issues.
- Retainers are worn for several months after the dentist removes your braces. Your dentist may ask you to wear a retainer at night indefinitely to ensure that your teeth don’t shift back to their old positions.
- Braces work better for more complex orthodontic problems.
- Retainers work well for minor adjustments where only one or two teeth need to be moved.
- Braces hold continual pressure on the teeth to shift them into a new position.
- Retainers stabilize the teeth, allowing surrounding tissues to conform to the new tooth alignment achieved by the braces.
- Braces sometimes cause discomfort, pain, and even some minor bleeding when first applied. The tissues inside your mouth are sensitive and it takes some time to toughen them up against the new hardware in your mouth.
- Retainers don’t generally cause pain to the inside of your mouth. But they can cause some tooth sensitivity as the teeth move into place.
- Braces are tough and you generally won’t have to replace them during the treatment period.
- Retainers are most susceptible to wearing out and may need replacement at some point.
So what is the difference between braces and retainers? The biggest difference is that braces are glued to your teeth, whereas retainers are removable.
Braces consist of small metal brackets and rings that are glued directly to your teeth. A stiff metal wire connects the brackets and rings and is usually held in place by tiny elastics. Your dentist will form the wire, creating a constant pressure on the teeth, slowly realigning them over an extended period of time.
Retainers consist of a molded piece of plastic with a formed wire. They work in the same way as braces, slowly pressuring the teeth so that over time they become properly aligned and spaced. Unlike braces, retainers and be removed, so a typical treatment will require a patient to wear a retainer for a certain number of hours each day.
The Invisalign Option
Invisalign is another dental option that many people prefer over braces and retainers. This method uses removable plastic teeth aligners to straighten your teeth. You’ll use a new set of aligners every two weeks until your teeth are in perfect position.
They’re clear so most people won’t even know you’re wearing them. They’re also more comfortable to wear than braces. You won’t get the irritation to the gums and mouth tissue that usually occurs with braces.
Because you can remove them, Invisalign aligners work best on adults and older teenagers. Children are more likely to lose their alignment trays or forget to wear them regularly.
Why People Need Orthodontic treatment
For the most part, kids get braces or retainers during their early teen years to improve their smile, but the reasons for getting braces or retainers actually goes much deeper than physical appearances: braces and retainers prevent issues from developing in the mouth.
Overcrowded teeth get damaged by rubbing together and it can be hard to brush and floss between them, leading to cavities and gum inflammation.
Overspacing can also lead to chunks of food getting caught between the teeth, which can also lead to cavities.
Wearing braces or retainers help align and space your teeth properly, giving you a beautiful smile and boosting self-confidence. But they also prevent dental problems from happening in the first place.
Straight and Healthy Teeth for a Lifetime
Getting your smile straightened means you get the healthy teeth you’ve always wanted. And the confidence boost you needed. Now, that’s a win/win situation!
Visit our website today to book an appointment online. Our experts can give you the full rundown on Invisalign, braces, and retainers. And you can finally straighten out your smile for good!
Braces and Retainers for Adults, Not Just Kids!
Braces and retainers are quite common for kids, usually between the ages of 10 – 12 when all of their baby teeth have fallen out and their adult teeth are coming in. The last teeth that typically grow in are the 12-year molars, but they sometimes come in a little earlier.
More and more, we’re seeing that adults are interested in getting braces or retainers to fix alignment or spacing issues with their teeth. You’re never too old to get braces, and if you’re hesitant to get braces because you don’t like the look of them there are invisible braces options that are far less noticeable than what you might think!
If you’re a little bit self-conscious of your smile because your teeth are misaligned, overcrowded or over-spaced, or if you have a child who needs or will need braces, let Orion Dental help! We offer a number of braces and retainer options that’ll help bring a beautiful smile to you or your child’s face! We offer a full range of dental services for the whole family, so call our Scarborough dental office at (416) 291 – 0306 or our Milton dental office at (905) 636 – 9770 and book a no-obligation consultation today!
FAQ: Braces and Retainers
Generally, for just one tooth, it may be possible to fix alignment with a retainer alone. Braces may be needed for one tooth only if the movement required to bring the tooth into the desired position is substantial.