The day you’ve been waiting for has almost arrived: That’s right, your braces are coming off! Soon you’ll be able to eat what you want and run your tongue over those smooth, clean, well-adjusted teeth.
But although one stage of your orthodontic treatment is ending, another is about to begin: retention. Why is retention needed, and what exactly is involved?
Retention is the critical stage of orthodontic treatment that follows removal of your braces. It typically involves use of a removable, custom-made appliance called a retainer. Now that the braces have been removed, the retainer prevents your teeth from shifting back into their old position.
Your teeth are held in place by a network of fibers known as the periodontal ligaments. It can take many months, or even longer, for the periodontal ligaments to adjust to the proper position. The retainer helps this process along, so that the time and money you invested doesn’t end up going to waste.
Typically, we’ll fit you for your new retainer on the same day we remove your braces.
At the Yuba City Dentistry Group, we use three basic types of retainers. They are:
You’ll need to care for your retainer properly to help it last, which includes regular cleaning. However, different retainers require different cleaning methods. For example, you can gently brush Hawley retainers with a normal toothbrush. But don’t brush a clear aligner, as you may scratch or damage the surface. Your dentist will provide you with instructions specific to your retainer.
It’s important not to expose a retainer to excess heat (such as washing it in very hot water or leaving it near a heater or fire), as this could warp the retainer and ruin it. It’s also a good idea to keep your retainer in a proper case when it’s not in use.