The One-Year Retention Phase
The retention phase is one of the most challenging aspects of orthodontics. The purpose of retention is to keep your teeth in place after braces have been removed. Teeth tend to want to shift back into their original positions once braces are removed. Retainers are used to keep teeth in their new positions until the new bite is more stable and less likely to relapse.
Types of Retainers
Traditional - Traditional retainers are removable and made of colored acrylic and wire. You can customize your retainer colors. You are given a special case for your retainer; please make sure you keep them in this case when not wearing it! To clean these retainers, brush them with toothpaste using warm water. Your retainers should be worn at all times with the exception of eating and brushing your teeth. Your retainer should also be removed when participating in sports that require a mouth-guard or while swimming.
Invisible Retainers - The invisible retainer is a transparent, removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth. Clear retainers are made of a clear thermoplastic material and have no wires. Clear overlay retainers are small and easy to wear. They also protect the surfaces of your teeth if you have a grinding (bruxism) or clenching habit.
Fixed Retainers - Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower canines (eye teeth). This is one of the best ways to prevent your lower teeth from shifting as it is permanently attached! Patients with bonded lingual retainers must be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause teeth to shift quickly. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep them clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your lower teeth as well as the wire.