Retainers and Retention
No matter what type of orthodontic treatment you choose, you will require retainers and retention to maintain your new smile. A custom retainer will help your teeth adapt to their new positions and prevent them from drifting back into their original locations. It is important to understand that retention is one of the most crucial phases of treatment at Roy Orthodontics. Retainers must be worn faithfully to achieve the long-term results you desire.
The Importance of Retention
Throughout your lifetime, you will experience minor tooth movement, even if you have not undergone orthodontic treatment. The jawbone can change and remodel as long as we are living; therefore, the teeth will move as well. By wearing a retainer, you can reduce or eliminate this shifting for a functional and healthy smile.
Dr. Carl Roy may recommend wearing your retainer all day long for the first several months. This will help the teeth stay in their new positions. After this initial period, you can typically begin nighttime wear, every night for one to two years. Eventually, you will be able to decrease your wear to a few times every week. Because each patient is unique, these guidelines may not be the same for everyone. Dr. Roy will give you detailed instructions for your situation. It is important to follow his guidelines closely for optimal, long-term success.
Types of Retainers
We offer different types of retainers. When your treatment is completed, Dr. Roy can help you determine which retainer will be most effective for your needs and lifestyle. The most common retainer types include:
- Hawley retainer: This traditional retainer is made from a combination of acrylic and wire. The acrylic fits snugly against the roof of your mouth, and the wire stretches across the teeth to keep them firmly in place.
- Essix retainer: Similar to a bleaching tray, an Essix retainer is a clear custom tray that fits securely over your teeth. This is a popular option, as they are barely visible. They also protect your teeth from bruxism (teeth grinding). They are, however, more prone to wear and tear, and may need to be replaced more frequently than a Hawley retainer.
- Bonded retainer: If you aren’t too keen on a removable appliance, you can opt for a permanent lingual retainer. These appliances are bonded to the tongue side of your teeth to keep them in alignment. Patients who choose lingual retainers must use specialized brushes or floss threaders to keep the teeth clean.
Becoming Accustomed to Your Retainer
In most cases, patients will have a Hawley or an Essix retainer. When you first receive your oral appliance, it may take a few days to grow accustomed to it. You may notice a slight slur in your speech pattern. This is only temporary, and should diminish in a few days.
To maintain your beautiful smile and your investment, it is important to care for your retainers and use them as directed by Dr. Roy. For a full list of retainer instructions, visit this page.
Call Us to Learn More
If you would like to learn more about retention, reach out to a team member. We are always available to answer your questions about this final phase of orthodontic treatment. You can contact us online anytime, or call us in Virginia Beach or Chesapeake.