Dental Braces and Retainers: Types, Care, What to Expect

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By Dr. Premendra Goyal, Dentistry

Braces are used in orthodontics as devices to change and realign a person tooth for proper alignment. This is done to improve the functioning of teeth, for better aesthetics and to improve dental hygiene. There are different types of braces available. Your orthodontist will decide after an examination, which one is best suited for you.

Types of Braces and How it Works-

Braces work by putting steady pressure on the set of teeth which overtime forces them to move into proper alignment. This usually takes quite some time as the changes are gradual. There are multiple kinds of braces and no one kind of brace is suitable for everyone. The orthodontist will determine which one is best suited for you after a detailed examination. Some of the types of braces are:

  1. Traditional braces
  2. Ceramic braces
  3. Damon Braces
  4. Invisalign braces


Retainers are used in the last phase of braces. After the braces are removed, there is chance of teeth getting back to their misaligned positions shape. Retainers help to keep the teeth in their straightened position.

Types of Retainers-

There are two types of retainers:

  1. Fixed Retainers – These are fixed thin wire worn across back of the teeth and less invasive than braces. However this is fixed to your teeth and stays there all the time.
  2. Removable Retainers – These can be removed and put back on as you wish, although the doctors usually prescribe to wear them all the time as well.

Things to take care of while wearing braces-

  1. Proper oral care – It is difficult to take proper oral care while wearing braces and retainers. You should be cautious of your oral hygiene while wearing braces.
  2. Diet – Your orthodontist will prescribe to avoid certain food during this phase. Avoid hard food as it may exert pressure on the braces and retainer.
  3. Elastics – It is important to wear elastics as advised by your orthodontist, else it may halt the treatment process. You may take them out while brushing teeth.

What to Expect-

The treatment process may take anywhere between 6 to 24 months depending on the severity of your dental problems. There will be some diet restrictions as certain foods such as hard candies and gums will cause trouble. Some pain and pressure on the teeth is to be expected immediately after the procedure and when follow ups are done, although you will get used to the braces very quickly and never feel they are there most of the time. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dentist.