Professional orthodontics can drastically improve your life. Besides the obvious cosmetic benefits, a straighter, more beautiful smile can also promote better oral health and prevent potential problems. However, it is important to protect your financial investment and time commitment after we correct your smile.
Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, a retainer is often required to help your teeth settle in their proper position. At Harper Dental, we can help you decide which retainer is best for you. Regardless of your choice, it is important to note that a retainer is an integral part of orthodontic treatment.
What Is Retention?
Retention is a critical stage of treatment after you finish with braces or clear aligners. Simply put, it helps keep your teeth in their proper position. As the name suggests, this stage of treatment usually involves the use of an appliance we call a retainer.
After your main orthodontic treatment is complete, we will take an impression of your teeth and gums. Our laboratory technicians will use this impression to fabricate your final retainer. This process ensures your retainer is custom-designed to your mouth for a more comfortable fit.
Once you receive your retainer, there may be a short adjustment period while you get used to your new appliance. At first, we will probably ask you to wear your retainer for the majority of the day, every day. Unless you receive a fixed bonded retainer, this may take some dedication.
This period of 24-hour use typically lasts several months to a year. After a while, you will only need to wear your retainer at night. Eventually, it only needs to be worn a few nights a week.
Why Do Teeth Move After Orthodontic Treatment?
Immediately following your treatment, your teeth are not set securely in the jawbone. Instead, they are held in place by periodontal ligaments, which do not provide the same support. Without the use of a retainer, these ligaments can allow your teeth to shift back out of alignment.
It can take several months or even years for your teeth to adjust to their new position. If you do not want to waste all the time, effort, and money you spent on treatment, you must wait for your teeth to “lock” in place. Even then, a retainer is the only sure-fire way to protect your investment.
The Three Types of Retainers
There are three major types of retainers:
||Hawley Retainer: Most people are familiar with this type of retainer. The appliance consists of a thin, tongue-shaped piece of acrylic attached to a wire that holds your teeth in place.
||Clear Plastic Retainer: This type of retainer is similar to a clear plastic aligner, without applying pressure on the teeth. The main benefit of this type of retainer is its discreet nature. It is also one of the most comfortable options.
||Fixed Bonded Retainer: This type of retainer is a thin metal wire that is bonded to the back of your teeth. It is generally used to hold the lower front teeth in their proper position. We typically recommend this appliance if you are at a higher risk for your teeth reverting to their former position.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you would like to learn more about our orthodontic treatments, call (479) 431-0280, and schedule your appointment now!