The day your braces are removed or you take your Invisalign® out for the last time is a day to celebrate! But this doesn’t mean your orthodontic treatment is complete. Now you’re entering the final phase of your treatment—the retention phase.
The retention phase begins when you start wearing your retainer. You’ll either wear a removable retainer, a fixed retainer, or both!
The reason you wear a retainer after braces is (quite literally) to retain your beautiful new smile! Retainers are critical for solidifying your end results after treatment with braces or Invisalign.
Whether you undergo orthodontic treatment or not, your teeth are susceptible to shifting. It’s only natural! Once your teeth no longer have the support of your braces or clear aligners, they have a tendency to revert or “relapse” back to their original position, prior to treatment. Your retainer will hold your teeth in place until they solidify in their final position and aren’t at risk of relapsing anymore.
At the beginning of your retention phase, you’ll wear your retainer for 24 hours, throughout the day and night.
We’ll show you how to wear your retainer, tell you how frequently to wear it, and let you know when you can start wearing it at night only.
There are different types of retainers, including fixed retainers and removable retainers.
Fixed, or permanent, retainers are cemented behind the top teeth or the bottom teeth. Fixed retainers are curved metal wires, custom-made to fit your exact dental arch.
These retainers typically remain in place for a lifetime to support your beautifully aligned smile. After a week of wearing yours, you’ll forget it’s there!
Depending on your condition, you may have a fixed retainer bonded behind your top teeth, one bonded behind your bottom teeth, or both. Fixed retainers are incredibly convenient, because once they’re in place, they shouldn’t budge.
Removable retainers are retainers that you can place in your mouth and remove as needed. These ones come in a variety of different styles.
The most popular removable retainers are Hawley acrylic retainers and Invisalign or Vivera retainers:
A Hawley retainer uses an acrylic plate and metal wires to hold your smile in place. The acrylic plate sits behind your upper, front teeth, in the roof of your mouth. The metal wires fasten around your front teeth and fit between your back teeth to anchor the retainer in place.
The Hawley retainer acrylic plate comes in a variety of different colors and patterns for you to choose from!
Invisalign or Vivera retainers are digitally fabricated from an exact digital scan of your teeth. If you have one or more missing teeth, they can be “painted in” to your existing Invisalign retainer. New Vivera retainers can be ordered from the original final scan if lost or broken rather then having to take a “gooey” impression of your teeth! Your original final scan will be kept by Invisalign for up to 3 years vs. lab retainers that break the original model during fabrication.
Your retainer is a part of your orthodontic treatment! We don’t charge additional money for your retainer. This cost will be included in the affordable payment plan you choose.
In the event that you lose or break your retainer, there may be a cost to replace or fix it. To prevent this from happening, be sure to care for your retainer properly!