Retention: Retaining the final orthodontic result

Retention comes at the end of the orthodontic treatment, after the last stage, the removal of orthodontic appliances, such as Invisalign splints or traditional braces.

Upon completion of the treatment, the orthodontist plans the maintenance of the orthodontic result for the longest period of time possible.

Is Retention Necessary?

The Retention phase is necessary to maintain -without any relapses- the beautiful result achieved with the help of Orthodontics.

It must be made clear that the teeth, after the removal of the orthodontic appliances, have the tendency (sometimes in combination with the pressure exerted by wisdom teeth) to return to their original position, prior to the orthodontic treatment, because they have not yet been fixed in their new correct position.

The tendency of the teeth to move to their original position varies from person to person and depending on the initial orthodontic problem. Therefore, this process can take a long time.

The tendency of the teeth to move to their original position varies from person to person and depending on the initial orthodontic problem. Therefore, this process can take a long time.

In some cases the retention phase lasting 2 to 3 years may be sufficient, but as a rule, retention is needed for as long as we want to have STRAIGHT teeth.

Which appliances are used for Retention

Maintaining a good orthodontic result and making sure the teeth are fixed in their new “ideal” positions is achieved by retainers, which are manufactured and placed in the patient’s teeth by the orthodontist at the end of their orthodontic treatment. Depending on the case, they can be removable (transparent splints or simple retainers) or immovable-permanent (Bonded Retention Wire) on the inside of the front teeth.

Removable appliances are easily removed from the teeth, when eating or brushing and during daily activities and are repositioned according to the orthodontist’s instructions.

If deemed necessary by the orthodontist, a retaining wire can be placed on the inside of the front teeth in order to maintain the result achieved.

The retention strategy used in each case is directly related to the original orthodontic problem that was treated and therefore may not be the same for everyone.

Removable Retention Appliances

In the Retention phase, whether you use – upon consultation with your orthodontist – transparent splints or simple retainers, you must keep the retainers in good condition and wear them every nightDaily compliance with the instructions for their use is a key factor in the proper maintenance of the orthodontic result.

The appliance should fit your teeth perfectly, which means that the teeth remain in their ideal position. If you feel any pressure – indicative of a slight movement – you should wear the retention appliance for more hours and more often during the day. In this way you control and stabilize the positions of your teeth yourself.

It would be a good idea to visit your orthodontist for re-examination after contacting them.

It doesn’t take a lot to care for your teeth in your daily routine so that you can enjoy your beautiful smile forever.

Permanent Retention Appliances

For those who do not want to wear transparent splints or retainers after the end of the orthodontic treatment, another option is the lingual retainer, at the back of your teeth, so that it is stable and at the same time invisible. The lingual retainer is permanent, so there is no risk of moving the teeth from their ideal positions.

The Bonded Retention Wire or Lingual bar is a small wire arch made by the orthodontist and usually glued to the back surface of the anterior teeth. Sometimes it may be necessary to place a wire or bar to hold the back teeth as well.

Teeth are not damaged during the installation of the wire or the retaining bar and of course it does not impede complying with the rules of oral hygiene, such as daily brushing or cleaning by the dentist.

In any case, talking to your doctor will give you answers about the treatment options that are preferable for you, according to your own personal desires and needs.

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