Retaining the Smile: The Importance of Correct Retention

Getting your retainerPerhaps one of the happiest days of any brace wearer’s life is the one when the braces come off. It is a great day and also the first one of the next (and final) phase of your orthodontic experience—retention. Getting and wearing your retainer is perhaps one of the most important periods of a patient’s treatment in keeping that smile perfect. And here is why.

Dental Shifting

Minor tooth shifting occurs naturally throughout life (mostly to the bottom front teeth) whether or a person has had prior orthodontic work done or not.

For those who have worn braces, the shifting has been more severe. Mother Nature also tends to like keeping things they way she started them off so the likelihood of teeth shifting back to their original position is higher. The retainer “trains” your teeth to stay where they were moved to and ensures that all of your time and hard work getting them there is not undone.

Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions, too. Like our patients, each retainer is unique—as is the retainer treatment plan. Sticking to that plan means that all of the preparation that went into getting you to your optimal bite and healthy smile will be time well spent with your teeth remaining in their new place.

Back into the Chair

As part of your continuing care, you will have to make retention appointments (for the first year at Orthodontic Associates these are covered under the overall fee) to check that your retainer still fits and your teeth have not shifted.

If you don’t follow your doctor’s recommendations (as quite a few brace wearers will tell you) you could be back in the chair for a much longer period down the road. Not wearing your retainer can result in needing additional orthodontic work to readjust those shifted teeth. This means more time in the orthodontist’s office and the additional expense of orthodontic appliances.

Whether it is permanent or removable, retainer care is fairly straightforward. With a little attention to detail you can form those care habits that make wearing and maintaining your retainer second nature and put you well on your way to keeping that smile straight and beautiful!

At Orthodontic Associates, we offer a wide array of dental treatments to children and adults. You and your family can choose from any of our 8 convenient locations around Baltimore to accommodate your scheduling and orthodontic care needs. We look forward to making you smile.


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