The Archer Dental Blog


May 2, 2024

Retainers After Braces; Maintain Straight Teeth After Braces

What is the Retention Phase?

Retainers after braces; patient with their retainers

When your orthodontist removes your braces, they will initiate the retention phase, including the use of retainers after braces, At Archer Dental, we take the retention phase of your orthodontic treatment very seriously.

Orthodontic retention is achieved with the use of various retainers, each type suitable for a specific situation. Most common types of retainers after braces are clear plastic retainer (Essex retainer), Howley retainer and fixed retainer. Orthodontic retainers hold teeth in their corrected place and resist the tendency of teeth to return to their original positions. Retention phase time is different and depends on many factors, but the minimum length of retention phase is at least 6 months. Your Archer Dental dentist will recommend how long and how often to wear your retainers.  Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far.

What causes movement after braces are off?

Teeth aren’t set rigidly in the jawbone — on the contrary;

  • Eruption of new teeth
  • Restoration work (fillings, root canals, crowns)
  • Aging
  • Forces exerted by the lips and tongue
  • Habits like biting your nails or chewing on pencils
  • Facial muscle structure
  • Amount of residual growth
  • Abnormal alignment of the upper and lower teeth (malocclusion)

There are plenty of studies that indicate that growth occurs in small amounts throughout life. Therefore, some movement is normal and is expected and teeth and jaws can shift at any time in varying degrees.

Orthodintic Treatments

Retainers after braces; clear retainers

Some dentists believe that unerupted wisdom teeth are can promote tooth movement, but the studies have not been consistent, and tooth shifting has been observed in people with no wisdom teeth. However, removal of wisdom teeth might be recommended if the patient doesn’t have adequate space in the mouth for normal eruption

Retainer after braces. How to achieve lifetime retention?

Our orthodontist at Archer Dental will recommend the best option for you to retain your teeth in place after all the hard work you did while wearing braces. The only way to make sure that your new smile remains aligned indefinitely is with professional guidance or lifetime retention. If you want lifetime retention (straight teeth forever) a clear plastic retainer should be worn 22 hours a day for the first 6 months. Removed only to brush your teeth and eat. After that, they need to be worn at night only.

Types of Retainers

There are three types of retainers after braces commonly used today. Your orthodontist will recommend you a retainer that will work best for you.

The most common style of retainer is the clear plastic retainer (clear overlay retainer or essix retainer). It looks similar to the Invisalign® tray system you might have heard about. These retainers are made of thin, transparent plastic which is designed to fit closely over your teeth. The main advantage of these retainers after braces is that they’re clear, and therefore invisible. They are also easily removed, but they are considered less durable than the next type of retainers, called Hawley retainers.

Hawley retainer is a thin, semi-clear piece of acrylic shaped to fit your mouth, with a wire that holds your teeth in position. The Hawley retainer is simple, durable and easily removed. It can also be adjusted to correct minor tooth movements.

Another option for some people are fixed retainers. They are commonly placed on the lower front teeth. Fixed retainers consist of a thin wire, which is bonded with the cement to the tongue part of the front teeth. It may remain in place for months, years or even decades. The biggest drawback of this type of retainer is accessibility when using the floss. Because the wire stretches across multiple teeth, a floss threader should be used to access the spaces between the teeth. Other the fact that this retainer required a little more work to keep clean, it has the best outcome because the bonded wire will hold the newly straightened teeth in perfect formation 24/7.

Ensuring the Lasting Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

Retainers after braces; patient watching his treatment

The journey through orthodontic treatment is a transformative experience that culminates in a beautifully aligned smile. As the final stretch of this process, the retention phase becomes a pivotal aspect of preserving the results achieved with braces. Enter retainers after braces, the unsung heroes that safeguard the progress made during orthodontic treatment. In this article, we will delve into the advantages of these retainers after braces and how they contribute to the longevity of your new smile.

  • Maintaining Alignment

The foremost advantage of retainers after braces lies in their ability to maintain the alignment achieved. After the braces are removed, teeth have a propensity to shift back to their original positions. Retainers after braces act as guardians, preventing this regression. By wearing retainers after braces consistently, you ensure that your teeth remain in their corrected positions, preserving the symmetrical and aesthetic outcome of your orthodontic treatment.

  • Preventing Relapse

Imagine investing months or even years in orthodontic treatment, only to see your teeth gradually revert to their previous misalignment. This is where retainers after braces step in to prevent relapse. These retainers after braces serve as a safety net, thwarting the forces that might cause your teeth to shift. Through regular wear of retainers after braces, you thwart the potential disappointment of undoing the progress achieved during your orthodontic journey.

  • Customized for Comfort

Retainers after braces come in various forms, each designed to cater to individual needs and preferences. From the classic clear plastic retainer to the convenient fixed retainer, there's an option for everyone. Orthodontists ensure that retainers after braces are customized to fit your unique dental structure, ensuring not only effectiveness but also comfort. This tailored approach makes wearing retainers after braces a seamless and comfortable experience.

  • Seamless Integration

Retainers after braces seamlessly integrate into your post-orthodontic routine. Unlike braces, which require adjustments and periodic appointments, retainers after braces typically involve minimal maintenance. You can easily incorporate wearing retainers after braces into your daily life, allowing you to enjoy the results of your orthodontic journey without major disruptions.

  • Long-Term Investment

Think of retainers after braces as a long-term investment in your smile. The commitment you show to wearing retainers after braces pays off by ensuring that the benefits of your orthodontic treatment endure. Whether it's the six-month minimum retention phase or beyond, every day you wear retainers after braces contributes to the lasting success of your orthodontic journey. Schedule your appointment with us and receive a professional orthodontic treatment and retainers after braces with us now.

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