Once we remove your braces, it’s on to the retention phase, meaning you’ll wear a retainer to hold your teeth in their new places. If you don’t wear a retainer, the teeth have a tendency to shift back to their old places. A retainer essentially “locks” in your results. Moving teeth with orthodontic treatment involves a process known as bone remodeling, where bone breaks down so the teeth can move and then regenerates holding them firmly in their new places. A retainer makes sure the teeth are where they’re supposed to be as new bone fills in and stabilizes your smile. After all, maintaining the results you achieved during your braces or Invisalign treatment is the key to the success of the entire orthodontic process. That’s why you’ll want to follow through with using your retainer. This phase will last for a minimum of 24 months. When you see how awesome your smile looks, wearing a retainer won’t feel like a big sacrifice!
Types of Retainers
The Hawley retainer is one of the most common types of retainers. It’s removable and consists of a combination of metal wire and sturdy acrylic. We make the retainer from impressions of your teeth so it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth while the wire goes around the teeth and keeps in them in perfect position. We can even personalize the acrylic with tons of different colors and patterns. We’ll give you a case to keep it safe. Be sure to put it away when you take it out so you don’t accidentally throw it away.
In doctor speak, a fixed retainer is known as a bonded lingual retainer. It’s cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower canines (eye teeth) so no one can see it when you smile. This is one of the best ways to prevent your lower teeth from shifting since it’s permanently attached. Just as with removable retainers, you’ll want to keep it clean. Carefully brush the inside of your lower teeth as well as the wire. If it breaks at any time during the retention phase, don’t try to fix it yourself. Call us immediately and schedule an emergency appointment.
The Essix retainer is a clear, removable, plastic retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth. It’s a lot like Invisalign in that there are no wires and it’s nearly invisible. These retainers are durable, inexpensive and easy to wear making them a great option. Again, be sure to put it in its case when you’re not using it and follow our instructions for keeping it clean.