Retention is any Phase of treatment where a retainer is worn to keep the teeth in their final position. The different types of retainers we use include:
- Hawley Retainers
- Essix Retainers
- Bonded Retainers
Hawley retainers are the traditional retainers that are plastic acrylic on the inside, and have a metal bar that fits around the teeth. These retainers are very robust, and are adjustable for minor tooth movements.
Essix retainers are clear thermoplastic retainers that provide full coverage of the teeth. These retainers are very easy to wear, and may protect your teeth if you grind. These retainers are not easily adjusted, but they can move the teeth back into place so long as the movement is less than 1mm.
Bonded retainers, also called “permanent” retainers, consist of a small wire directly bonded to the tongue side of the teeth, hidden from view. A bonded retainer is convenient as you don’t have to remember to wear it, but certain foods must be avoided so not to break this type of retainer while eating.
How much will you need to wear your retainer? At first you must wear your retainer at least 14 hours out of the day. After the initial 8 weeks, you will then be able to wear your retainer in the evening, but EVERYBODY is different. Some are more stable than others, and the only accurate gauge to determine how much to wear the retainers is simply on how they fit. A TIGHT RETAINER must be worn MORE OFTEN as this is an indication that the teeth are shifting. By wearing the retainer more it can usually nudge the teeth back into position. If the teeth are allowed to move too far, this may either BREAK your retainer as the force required to jam it on the teeth is too great, or it will not fit at all. If this is the case, a new retainer will be needed, and SOMETIMES re-treatment is indicated.
We will monitor your teeth during retention phase and make recommendations on how to wear your retainers. We will have you return to our office for a minimum of 1 year following the conclusion of active treatment just to make sure you are maintaining your correction.
The most important aspect of Orthodontic Treatment IS RETENTION IS FOR LIFE!