Removing braces signals the start of the retention and observation period of your orthodontic care. Please remember that this part of your orthodontic treatment is just as important as the active movement phase in determining the ultimate success of your treatment. Once the teeth have been moved into their desired positions, a period of time is needed to stabilize the teeth so that the surrounding bone and soft tissues can conform to your new dental alignment. When braces are removed, it is a good time to review several important aspects of care.

How long are retainers worn? The final observation and retention period of treatment normally spans approximately two years. During this period, appointments are scheduled with decreasing frequency. Usually retainers are worn at all times during the first six to 12 months after braces are removed, except when eating, brushing, flossing or during active sports. As retention continues, the retainers are generally worn at night for an additional year and then progressively less as instructed. Each person’s requirements are different and a longer period or a different schedule may be recommended if facial growth is not complete. In some cases, indefinite wear on a part-time basis may be recommended to maintain the desired changes that have been achieved.

Will my teeth move back after treatment? Orthodontists are aware that as retainers are discontinued, there may be minor changes in tooth position. The position and fit of teeth generally changes throughout your life, with or without orthodontic treatment. Our goal in the retention phase of your treatment is to limit these changes to the natural process of accommodation while maintaining both a good functional and an aesthetic result.

Types of retainers:

  • Fixed wire retainer
  • Removable retainers (clear or plastic with wire)