When your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to hold your teeth in position. Retainers are just as important as braces in the treatment. You will wear your retainer for as long as it takes for your teeth to settle into a better occlusion (bite) and for your bones, gums and muscles to adapt to your new dental arrangement. Retainers are usually bonded to the backs of your upper and lower front teeth. They don’t require much effort on your part other than to keep them clean. You will be instructed on how to properly clean and maintain them.

It is important that we see you periodically to check your teeth and retainers. Sometimes the bond can break between the retainer and a tooth. It is important to let us know if that has happened so that it can be repaired. There are a few situations where patients will need to wear a removable retainer. You will be given instructions on proper wear. If your retainer breaks, stop wearing it and call the office as soon as possible so that your retainer can be repaired or replaced. We will also evaluate your wisdom teeth during this retention period. Contemporary Orthodontics acknowledges the fact that long-term retention is often the best option to ensure to stability of perfect alignment in all teeth.

Changes After Treatment

Teeth have a tendency to change their positions after treatment. The more pronounced the misalignment of the teeth or depth of the bite, the more likely it is that your teeth or bite may shift “relapse” somewhat toward their original position. This minor degree of relapse generally enhances normal settling of the individual tooth positions and will stabilize the bite. The lower front teeth have the greatest tendency to relapse.

In some instances, we overcorrect some teeth in anticipation of movement after the retention period. However, some relapse may occur despite our best efforts and your conscientious cooperation in wearing the prescribed elastics, headgear and retainers.  Throughout life, the bite can change adversely due to the eruption of wisdom teeth, mouth breathing and other oral habits. Adverse bone growth, the normal aging process and other maturational changes that take place later in life are beyond the control of the orthodontist.