Orthodontics and Retention: What You Need to Know

orthodonticsOrthodontics treatments like braces and aligners work to straighten your incorrectly positioned teeth. The results you receive from alignment methods will be strong and attractive; however, teeth have a tendency to move consistently based on their environment and their natural position. To avoid the retraction of quality corrections, we employ retention methods.  What is retention? Orthodontic retention serves as a support system to newly aligned teeth. Once your braces or your aligner is removed, the use of retention for a short period is necessary to preserve your straightened results. If you previously had severely misshapen teeth or bite issues, retention will help your teeth hold their corrected position. Even if your dental misalignment was minor, your teeth might still need extra support to maintain your straight smile. Directly following the removal of braces or aligners, your teeth are most prone to shifting back into their original place. The retention phase of orthodontics will stop this from happening.

How long will retention be necessary?

The duration of your retention phase will greatly depend on the state of your teeth before the orthodontics treatment and how quickly your straightening changes were accomplished. While some patients' teeth are more prone to moving than others, in most cases, you should wear a retainer certain times of the day or night for at least a year or two for the best stabilization results.

What will my retention plan look like?

Your plan will be created personally for you, so there is no way to determine before an examination what your exact retention plan will look like. There are many factors we will consider when creating your plan and if you choose to wear your retainer as often as possible, you will gain the best results. Over a few months to a year, we will gradually permit you to wear your retainer less often until eventually we decide you don't need to wear it any longer or that you only need it a few times a week.

What types of retention will be used?

The type of orthodontics retention, you will use will depend on the nature of your teeth. We use either a fixed retainer or a removable retainer depending on the patient. Two of the most common retainers we offer are lower fixed retainers, which uses a wire fixed to the inside of your bottom row of teeth, or an upper removable retainer, which can be in the form of a plastic shell or a removable wire. Retainers that include the use of a bonded wire or removable wire generally produce the most long-lasting results, but they often require longer wear periods.

How do I care for my retainer?

If you have a removable retainer, you should rinse it with warm water and mild soap whenever you brush your teeth to keep the buildup at bay. You should always keep your removable retainer in a safe place when you are not using it to prevent breaking or warping. If you have a fixed retainer, you just care for your teeth as usual. If you notice any bending or breaking, let our orthodontics office know immediately so we can fix it.



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