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If you’ve experienced braces, you understand the importance of a good retainer. Retainers keep your smile straight after you complete orthodontic treatment. Believe it or not, retainers have existed for thousands of years—they’re older than braces!

The first recorded use of retainers originated around 770 B.C., when the Etruscans (early predecessors of the ancient Romans) began inserting pure gold bands into the mouths of their deceased women during burial rituals. The idea was to preserve the shape of the teeth so that the women would still look beautiful in the afterlife.

In 1728, French dentist Pierre Fauchard used a device called the “Bandeau,” a horseshoe-shaped band of metal that he would align across the back of his patients’ teeth. The Bandeau could be adjusted to either widen or preserve the arch of the teeth.

Today, retainers come in different styles to fit different mouths. Full Smile Orthodontics offers the following three styles:

Hawley retainers—named after the inventor, Charles Hawley—consist of a plastic body that lays across the roof of the mouth or the tongue side of the teeth and is held in place by wires and clasps.

Clear retainers are made from plastic and fit snugly over the teeth. Clear retainers are more discreet than Hawley retainers, but tend to be less durable.

Fixed retainers, also called bonded or permanent retainers, permanently attach to the back of the front teeth to prevent the arch from shifting over time. Fixed retainers can only be removed by your dentist.

If you’re in need of a retainer in Carlsbad, California, contact Dr. Daniel Adams at 760.804.0080 to discuss your options. At Full Smile Orthodontics, we believe your post-braces smile should last a lifetime.