Importance of Orthodontic Retention

Importance of Orthodontic Retention
Posted on 04/18/2018

At Affiliated Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we're proud to help kids throughout the Scottsdale, Grayhawk, & Shea areas achieve beautiful smiles through quality pediatric dental and orthodontic treatment. While most people know that appliances like braces and Invisalign are vital to achieving a new smile through orthodontic treatment, these actually only represent part of the full treatment process. Retention therapy, the phase that occurs after treatment with braces and Invisalign, is just as important to the health of your smile – and if you're considering orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, it's important to educate yourself about retention.

What Are Retainers?

Retainers are orthodontic appliances used after active treatment with Invisalign, braces, or another form of treatment. Retainers don't move teeth to new positions – instead, they help keep the teeth in their current positions to protect the smile over the long-term. This is necessary because, while your teeth are in new positions after treatment, the ligaments and tissues supporting the teeth have yet to adapt to the new alignment. Without retention, your teeth would just drift back to their old positions. Retention therapy stops that from happening.

Types of Retainers

There are three main types of retainers, each with its own benefits and appropriate for specific orthodontic cases. The three types of retainers are:

  • Hawley Retainers: Made from molded acrylic and metal wires, these removable retainers are durable and cost-effective. Hawleys are the most common type of retainer and work well for most patients. 
  • Essix Retainers: These are essentially clear plastic trays, very similar to Invisalign aligners. They're removable, fit directly over the teeth, and are virtually invisible when worn, making them a great option for patients that need to wear their retainer 24/7.
  • Fixed Retainers: Also called bonded retainers, these consist of a metal wire cemented to the tongue side of the lower front teeth. Fixed retainers are usually used with patients at a high risk of tooth regression.

No matter which type of retainer you use, it's important to take good care of it and follow our instructions on how long to wear it. With conscientious use, your retainer will help safeguard your smile for a lifetime – and if you're still curious about retainers, you can learn more on our retention page.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Scottsdale Kids Orthodontist

Retainers are a vital component to any orthodontic treatment course, and if you're interested in learning more about how they can help you achieve a new smile in combination with braces or Invisalign, we'd love to help. Contact us today to learn more about the treatments we offer or to schedule a consultation at one of our offices. We can't wait to hear from you, and we're excited to help you achieve the smile of your dreams!