Retention is the final, and most important, stage of treatment!

Once we remove your braces, we will move into the retention stage of your treatment. During the retention phase, retaining appliances are used to hold teeth in the corrected position. Maintaining the results you achieved during the treatment phase is key to the success of the entire orthodontic process.

How long do I need to wear my retainers?

While it may vary from patient to patient, the normal period for full-time retainer wear lasts for about two years. After this full period of full-time retainer wear, we will often recommend part-time retainer wear indefinitely to ensure your smile is as straight and beautiful as the day your braces came off!

Can teeth move after treatment?

Absolutely! The forces that our office took advantage of to move your teeth into proper position are the same ones that can shift your teeth into an improper position without care and oversight. Tooth position typically changes in patients over time, regardless of orthodontic treatment, and minor changes to your retainer may be necessary in the future, but our ultimate goal is to keep your smile beautiful and functional for the rest of your life.

Retainer Care

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.

Brush your retainer with cool (not hot!) water and toothpaste. You may also need to soak it occasionally in dental cleanser to keep it smelling and tasting fresh. And if your retainer is not in your mouth, it should be in its case! Retainers kept in pockets, placed on tables or tucked into napkins are frequently broken or accidentally thrown away. Be sure to keep your retainers away from dogs or other pets, as they will often try to chew on them. If you break or lose your retainer, please contact our office right away so that we can repair or replace it for you as soon as possible.

Remember – retainers are important to keep your new smile forever, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far!

Retainer Color Chart --- Click here to download our chart.

Types of Retainers

Hawley Retainers
Hawley_retainerDr. Firth strongly recommends this type of retainer following orthodontic treatment. The Hawley retainer, one of the most common types, is a removable retainer made of a combination of metal wires and sturdy acrylic, and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is specially made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while any wire or acrylic framing keeps your teeth in perfect position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors and/or patterns.

Average Life: 5- 10 Years – We currently have patients with Hawley retainers that are 20+ years old.

Essix Retainer
essixThe Essix retainer is a clear removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth. Essix retainers are similar to Invisalign trays in that they have no metal wires and are virtually invisible. They are very durable, inexpensive and easy to wear.

Average Life: 18- 24 months – Could be extended with proper wear and maintenance.