Retention is the final, and most important, stage of treatment!
Once braces are removed, patients often think that is the end of their orthodontic treatment. However, there is one final treatment stage left to complete – retention. During the retention phase, retaining appliances are used to hold teeth in the corrected position.
The retention phase, often said to be one of the difficult stages of the orthodontic process, can last months - possibly years. If retainers aren't worn as instructed by an orthodontist, then teeth may start to migrate back to their original positions. It is the patient’s responsibility to wear and protect their retainers.
There are various types of retainers available, and the orthodontist can determine which one is right for you. One popular retainer is the removable acrylic retainer, such as the Hawley. However, retainers do require patient compliance for effectiveness.
Taking care of your retainer is just as vital as wearing it. Keeping it clean and handling it carefully are important for the longevity of the retainer, which can be costly to replace.
Teeth need time to adapt to the corrected position, and by following through with the retention phase, you can keep your smile as healthy and beautiful for a lifetime!
Click here for our Retainer Instructions
Retainer Color Chart --- Click here to download our chart.
Hawley Retainer – Dr. Firth strongly recommends this type of retainer following orthodontic treatment. The Hawley retainer is made with a metal wire that surrounds the front teeth. It has a loop on either side to assist Dr. Firth with adjustments. Acrylic is placed across the palate to aid in stability and retention.
* Adjustments can be made by Dr. Firth
* It is very durable
* Colors and designs may be selected
* You will see the wire
* Speech may be affected initially, but will subside with wear
Average Life: 5- 10 Years – We currently have patients with Hawley retainers that are 20+ years old.
Essix or Transparent Retainer – This retainer is similar in appearance to the Invisalign trays. They are made from a plastic material and fit over the entire arch of the teeth.
* It is less noticeable
* Sometimes easier to wear and speak with
* Minimal adjustments can be made by Dr. Firth
* They are prone to breakage and distortion over time
* The average life of this retainer is much shorter than that of the Hawley retainer
Average Life: 18- 24 months – Could be extended with proper wear and maintenance.