Once the active period of your orthodontic treatment is completed, your braces are removed. The next step is the retention phase. It is an extremely important phase of your treatment and should not be neglected. It involves wearing retainers and/or the placement of fixed retainers.

Retainers are utilized to hold your teeth in their new positions until your bone, gums, and muscles adapt to the new teeth positions. You must wear your retainer as instructed, otherwise your teeth may move toward their original positions and the benefit of wearing your braces will be lost.

General Retention Protocol:

  • First 6 months after the braces are removed the retainers must be worn at all times except while eating and brushing/flossing your teeth.
  • After 6 months of full time wear, the retainers can be worn at night time only.
  • One year after the braces are removed the retainers can be worn as little as 2 nights per week.
  • Retainers must be worn forever at least one night per week.
Fixed/Bonded Retainer :

Dr. Luu usually places fixed/bonded retainers on the tongue side of the lower front teeth. Fixed retainers must be checked regularly for breakage. If broken you need to wear the clear retainer until the repair can be carried out. You must floss under the fixed retainer at least twice per week as plaque can get trapped easily which can cause decay and gum disease.

Clear Essix Retainers:

The Essix retainers are the most aesthetic type of retainer. It is made of clear durable plastic which snaps into place over your teeth. Once placed, your teeth and gums show through the plastic, making the retainers appear nearly invisible. Clear retainers must not be bleached or placed in hot water as it will cause damage. To clean retainers use toothpaste and toothbrush and gently brush. DO NOT PLACE IN HOT WATER.

Hawley Retainers:

Hawley retainers are made from acrylic, with a metal wire that surrounds the teeth. It is the most common retainer used by orthodontists.

Regardless of the type, retainers are truly as important as braces is in the long term results of your orthodontic treatment. Remember: wear them in your mouth, not in your pocket.