The dental product world can be a confusing one with all of the different devices that are offered to treat various conditions. With products that whiten, clean, straighten, protect, adjust, and maintain, it can become confusing. Two products that many confuse are retainers and aligners. What is the difference between retainers and aligners? A retainer is used to prevent your teeth from shifting. It’s “retaining” your teeth in their current position. An aligner is used to shift teeth to their desired position. It helps “align” the teeth into place before a retainer is needed.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at what each dental device does and how they are different from each other.
What Are Aligners:
When you first begin your journey to crafting a perfect smile you’ll need a dental device to shift your teeth into a desirable position. Braces have been a popular choice over the last few decades, but within the past 15 years, aligners have become the top choice in shifting teeth. These clear custom-fitting dental devices look very similar to retainers but have a completely different job.
Once your dentist provides you with an aligner the clear plastic removable device will begin to shift your teeth into a perfect smile. You may experience some discomfort, or your teeth may become sensitive while you wear an aligner. This is due to your teeth slowing aligning into position. The more you wear an aligner, the faster you’ll have a perfect smile.
Aligners are replaced over time as your dentist or aligner provider will create new ones to fit your constantly shifting teeth. These treatments will help correct mild to moderate out of place teeth. Aligners typically are quicker to shift teeth into place than braces as they’ve become more advanced over the years. You’ll end up wearing your aligner for around 20 to 22 hours a day. Wearing it constantly helps keep your teeth shifting in the right direction. New aligners are created for you about every two weeks until your smile is complete, which takes anywhere from 12 to 20 months.
What Are Retainers:
Once your perfect smile is completed with the use of aligners. The next dental device that is an absolute must is a retainer. A retainer is used to prevent your teeth from shifting as opposed to an aligner which is used to shift your teeth into a desirable position. They look very similar with both being clear plastic fittings that snap onto your teeth but each offers vastly different jobs.
Your teeth have “elastic memory” and will want to shift back into their natural position after your aligner treatments are completed. This is where a retainer comes in. A retainer snuggly fits over your teeth, and you won’t feel pressure or increased sensitivity with it. A quality retainer is barely noticeable both to the user and to the people around them. You’ll want to wear a retainer while you sleep to maintain your smile that you worked so hard for. It’s the best protection from your teeth shifting.
If you choose not to wear a retainer or forget it for a few weeks, you risk the chance of your teeth shifting back to their natural position. When your teeth shift back, your retainer will not shift your teeth back into the perfect position. They just keep the teeth from shifting even more. You’ll need to get a new aligner treatment to shift the teeth back into the position, which is costly. Retainers are a cost-preventative measure in keeping your teeth straight! Teeth grinding, stress, age, anxiety, and the elastic memory of your teeth all play a factor in your teeth shifting back. This is why retainers are required for the rest of your life after completing aligner treatments.
Where To Get Retainers:
Retainers are a necessary precaution after dental work. Sporting Smiles offers affordable clear plastic retainers that are professional for half the cost of the dentist. You’ll receive your replacement retainers all from the safety and comfort of your home after completing our patented impression kit. After Sporting Smiles receives the approved impressions, our expert dental lab techs craft the perfect essix plus retainers for you. There’s no need to visit the dentist or pay outrageous costs for retainers. The best part is Sporting Smiles offers up to 35% on reorders, so you can keep a backup retainer at all times.
Remember, aligners “align” your teeth into a perfect position, retainers “retain” your teeth in that position.