The importance of retention in orthodontic treatment

Getting your braces off or completing your series of Invisalign® clear aligners is an exciting point during orthodontic treatment. It’s at this time you get to see the amazing results of your brand-new smile. Dr. Weis and Dr. Patel of Charlottesville Orthodontics understand that you’ll be excited once this portion of your orthodontic treatment plan is complete, but you won’t be done quite yet. The last step to any orthodontic treatment, whether it be braces or Invisalign is retention.

What is retention

Retention is the part of orthodontic treatment that is designed to keep your teeth in proper alignment after your braces come off or your Invisalign clear aligner series is complete. In other words, retention ensures you keep the beautiful smile you and your local orthodontist have worked so hard on.

The retention process

Your orthodontist will instruct you to wear your retainer for at least 24 months. If you do not wear your retainer as prescribed, your teeth will shift back into misalignment and the progress you made during your time in braces or Invisalign will be lost. Be sure you’re being diligent about wearing your retainer properly for the entirety of the retention phase of your treatment.

Types of orthodontic retainers

There are a few different types of retainers that your orthodontist may choose for you. These include:

  • Hawley (Removable) Retainers – Made of metal wires and acrylic and fits in the roof of your mouth
  • Essix (Clear) Retainers – transparent removable retainers that fit over the teeth, similar to Invisalign aligners
  • Fixed (Bonded) Retainers – metal retainer permanently attached to the inside of teeth

Caring for your retainer

Just like how you kept your orthodontic appliances clean with thorough brushing and flossing, you will also have to keep your retainer clean. Removable retainers should be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. You should also brush your retainer to keep it free of bacteria and built-up plaque. If you have a fixed retainer, it is important to brush and floss away any debris trapped in it.

Contact us for orthodontics near Zion Crossroads

If you have any questions about orthodontic retention or the orthodontic treatments available at Charlottesville Orthodontics, contact us or request a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Zion Crossroads and Charlottesville, VA, and are always excited to have new patients come in to see our orthodontists. We hope to see you soon!