The next phase after braces are removed is called retention. Retention is a critical follow-through stage that typically involves wearing an orthodontic appliance called a retainer.
Several different kinds of retainers are available, all of which are custom-made just for you. We will recommend the type (or types) that will work best in your situation, and we’ll tell you exactly when and how long you need to wear them.
But if your teeth are straight now, why do you need a retainer at all? Simply put, it’s because if you don’t wear one, your teeth will start moving right back to where they were! So if you want to keep that new smile — and not waste all the time, effort, and money it took to get it — it’s essential to wear your retainer.
Types Of Retainers
There are several types of retainers available today; each works best in particular situations.
The most common style of retainer is the clear aligner-type, which looks similar to the Invisalign® tray system. These retainers are custom-made of thin, transparent plastic which is designed to fit precisely over your teeth. Their main advantage is that they’re invisible, with no wire to show and are easy to remove.
Fixed retainers may be an option for some people, especially on the lower front teeth. As their name implies, they aren’t removable by the wearer — but they aren’t visible either. We usually recommend this retainer remains in place indefinitely.
In some cases, Dr. Popowich may prescribe other types of retainers, such as a Hawley or Biocryl retainer depending on the patients’ needs.
You will be given instructions on wear and care of your retainer. With proper care and conscientious use, a retainer can help you transition from braces to a permanent, healthy smile.