Once orthodontic treatment has been completed, we continue to see our patients in the retention phase of treatment for a minimum of one-year.

During orthodontic treatment, we will place your teeth in the most stable position, based on the best possible balance between your face and jaw structure. However, during the retention period the teeth will settle into their new positions. In addition, teeth have a memory and may tend to shift back towards their original position. This is particularly true if your teeth were extremely crowded prior to treatment. Therefore, you MUST wear your retainers as instructed to help stabilize the teeth in their new position and to prevent your teeth from shifting back.

It is also important to understand that throughout life our teeth will tend to shift naturally. This is true with all of us, regardless of whether we have had orthodontic treatment or not. We therefore recommend long-term retention.

There are two basic types of retainers: fixed and removable. While we do utilize both types of retainers routinely, each retention plan we develop is customized specifically for each of our patients needs.

In addition to regular hygiene procedures, you MUST brush and floss around your fixed retainer as directed. If not, decay and/or periodontal disease may weaken your teeth and/or their supporting structures (gum tissue and bone). If you have been given a removable retainer, please remember to take it out prior to brushing your teeth. You should also brush your retainer prior to placing it back in your mouth. Retainer cleansing tablets can also be used.

You MUST keep your retention appointments so that we can ensure that your bite is stable and your retainers are fitting adequately.

You MUST continue to visit your dentist for regular check-up appointments so that your oral health is monitored appropriately.

REMEMBER… The retention phase of your treatment is as important as the active phase. The stability of your final orthodontic result depends on you wearing your retainers. Be sure to follow through with the hard work you have put in so far to maintain your beautiful, healthy smile.

Fixed Retainers

A wire bonded to the back of the teeth. They are commonly used to retain the lower anterior teeth and can also be used in a similar fashion for the upper anterior teeth.

Care of Your Removable Retainer

  • Rinse your retainer regularly in cold water
  • Keep retainer in your mouth or in retainer case at all times
  • Brush retainer with toothpaste in cold water every time you brush your teeth (DO NOT use toothpaste for Invisalign retainer)
  • Use Polident retainer cleaner tablets daily
  • Since retainer is plastic, do not put in hot water
  • Keep retainer away from dogs and other pets

If you have been advised to wear your retainer full time, please note the following exceptions where you can remove your retainer:

  • When you are eating, provided you have a retainer case to put your retainer in (Please note: A typical “Hawley” retainer can be worn while eating)
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Swimming
  • Participating in physical activities that involve contact and where a protective mouth guard should be worn

Following the 12-month retention period, we may revise your retention program; lessening the time that retainers need to be worn.

Your final treatment result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far.