Congratulations on getting a pearly white smile and perfectly aligned teeth with orthodontic treatment with the best dentist in NY. Getting your teeth straightened with clear aligners or braces is the first part of orthodontic treatment. The second and more critical factor is ensuring that your teeth remain in their new position and do not move back. So, how will your dentist do that? By using orthodontic retainers. 

If you have recently completed your orthodontic treatment, you must wear orthodontic retainers for a certain period. If you are hearing about these orthodontic appliances for the first time, you might be wondering what retainers are and what they are used for. If you are unable to find an answer to these questions, don’t worry; this blog contains all the information you need to know about orthodontic retainers. So, read on!  

Orthodontic Retainers in Gramercy Park, NY Dentistry

According to the American Association of Orthodontists 1, a retainer is a removable or fixed appliance worn/ placed over the teeth to prevent unwanted movement. The function of a retainer is to consolidate orthodontic treatment. When worn over the upper and/ or lower teeth, retainers ensure that the teeth remain fixed at their new positions. However, if a retainer is not worn properly or according to the dentist’s instructions, it can lead to the loss of tooth alignment. 

How do Orthodontic Retainers Work in Gramercy Park, NY Dentistry?

Dental braces or clear aligners are active appliances, meaning that they exert pressure on the teeth and align them as needed. On the other hand, a retainer is a passive appliance. This means that retainers do not exert pressure on the teeth or apply force on them. Instead, they simply serve as placeholders and prevent the teeth from moving back to their previous positions. 

When are Orthodontic Retainers Needed in Gramercy Park, NY Dentistry?

An orthodontic retainer is needed after completing orthodontic treatment with braces, aligners, or functional appliances. The reason is that in your cosmetic and implant dentistry Gramercy Park, NY practice, the doctor will apply force on your teeth to align them. However, once the braces are removed, there is a tendency that your teeth will move backward, undoing all the effort put into straightening your teeth. So, aligners are given to all orthodontic patients after they have finished wearing their active appliances. 

What are Different Types of Retainers In Gramercy Park, NY Dentistry

Dentists typically use two retainer types after orthodontic treatment: removable and fixed. 

  1. Removable Orthodontic Retainers 

These retainers are made of clear or gum-colored acrylic resin and contain a metal wire underneath. These retainers are worn over the teeth. However, they do not exert any force or pressure. These retainers are usually prescribed to patients who do not wear them throughout the day and can be worn part-time or during sleep. 

Removable retainers are easy to use and maintain. They also allow for optimal oral hygiene maintenance, as you can take them off while brushing or flossing. However, they also have certain drawbacks. For example, they can fracture or crack easily if dropped accidentally. Furthermore, these retainers are not suitable for individuals who frequently misplace or break them. 

Fixed Retainers

These retainers consist of wire that passes through the lingual (tongue-facing) surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. The wire is bonded to the teeth using tooth-colored composite resin. Once attached, these retainers cannot be removed by the patients. 

Fixed retainers are suitable for individuals at high risk of treatment relapse, those who need to wear them throughout the day, and those who keep misplacing or breaking their removable retainers. 

The advantage of fixed retainers is that they are not dependent on patient compliance. On the other hand, a drawback of fixed retainers is that they make oral hygiene maintenance difficult as they create hindrance for the toothbrush or dental floss to clean the interdental spaces properly. Furthermore, fixed retainers may cause pain and discomfort, particularly during the initial few days of use. However, the discomfort should go away after a few days. 

How Long do I Need to Wear Orthodontic Retainers in Gramercy Park, NY Dentistry?

The duration for which one has to wear their retainers mainly depends on the underlying severity of the orthodontic problem. For minor orthodontic issues like spacing or mild crowding, your cosmetic and implant dentistry Gramercy Park, NY doctor may ask you to wear removable retainers during sleep for 1-2 years. For more severe cases, retainers may have to be worn significantly longer. Essentially, the more force used and time is taken in straightening one’s teeth, the higher the risk of relapse and the longer one will need to wear the retainers. Some individuals may wear retainers throughout life to keep their teeth straightened. 

What to do If I Break or Mislpace My Retainers?

If you lose or break your retainers, call your dentist or orthodontist immediately and ask for an emergency appointment so your new retainers can be prepared. In the meantime, if you wore removable aligners for your treatment, you may use your last aligner set as a retainer. However, this is only a temporary solution, and new ones should be prepared as soon as possible.

Orthodontic treatment is the most reliable and long-lasting option for getting perfectly aligned teeth. So, if you are looking for a renowned orthodontic practice in NY, Dr. Toksoy’s | Studio Dental NY is the best place to get your dream smile. Our dentist, Dr. David Toksoy, has extensive experience treating even the most complex orthodontic issues with braces or clear aligners. So, what are you waiting for? Your dream smile awaits you at Dr. Toksoy’s | Studio Dental NY. So, book an appointment with us today, and let us give you a smile you can be proud of!


  1. https://www3.aaoinfo.org/blog/parent-s-guide-post/glossary-of-terms/#retainer

David Toksoy, DMD, BDS