Orthodontic Retention

You've worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!

Finally, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful, straight, and best of all, metal-free! However, your orthodontic journey isn't quite completed. To keep your smile looking its best, you'll have to wear a retainer to preserve and stabilize your results. Retainers are needed to control or limit potential changes in tooth position. They are used after braces treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment while the surrounding gums, bone, and muscle adjust to the new positioning of your teeth.

Types of Retainers

Retainers are custom-made and can be removable or fixed.

  • Traditional removable retainers typically include a metal wire that surrounds the front teeth and is attached to an acrylic arch that sits in the roof of the mouth. The metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the front teeth as needed.
  • Aligner-style retainers, or Essix retainers, look similar to clear aligners and offer a more aesthetic alternative to wire retainers. This clear retainer may fit over the entire arch of your teeth, or only from canine to canine (clip-on retainer). It is produced from a mold of your newly aligned teeth.
  • Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded to the back of the upper or lower front teeth. It is recommended that these retainers be left in at least until the wisdom teeth have been extracted, but they are often kept in place for life. 

Pros and Cons

  • Removable retainers can be taken out for eating and hygiene routines.
  • Removable retainers can get lost easily, so remember to keep yours in the case whenever you remove it to eat or brush.
  • A fixed retainer is great if you don't want to keep track of it, however it only connects to front teeth so an over essix retainer is still recommended to be worn at night.
  • Teeth with fixed retainers require a little extra attention to remove tartar while flossing. Patients with fixed retainers often must use floss threaders to pass dental floss through the small spaces between the retainer and the teeth. Professional cleanings at your general dentist's office are very important if you have a fixed retainer since they can be more difficult to keep clean.
Invisalign In-Ovation Damon American Association of Orthodontics