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Do you see the retainers?


(All the patients in the slideshow above have had their braces removed in recent weeks. Check back to see your friends since our slideshow changes frequently)

Good.  You aren’t supposed to.

Yet everyone in the photos is wearing retainers.

Not only do you not see them. They are very hard to lose and they hold the teeth as well as it can be done.

Wearing retainers is extremely important and just like braces – not all retainers are created equal. In keeping with our overall philosophy of care, we make retention as simple and effective as possible. There is no perfect retainer, but for retention to work it must be easy – very easy.

We don’t tend to think of our teeth as having forces on them when there are no orthodontic appliances, but this isn’t true. Forces from the tongue, lips, cheeks, and gums are always present and will move teeth. Also, when braces are removed, the teeth tend to rebound slightly to their original positions. To prevent this from happening and to allow the teeth to adapt to their new positions, retainers are essential.

In most cases we place durable bonded retainers behind the front teeth to diminish the problem of long term compliance. Maintaining a healthy mouth and personally monitoring whether the wires are bonded to the teeth is necessary for these retainers to function properly.

We most often supplement the bonded retainers with removable night time retainers. We give each patient a clear protocol to follow to maintain the results of orthodontic treatment.

After the braces are removed, appointments are infrequent. We use these appointments to monitor the retainers, the alignment of your teeth, smile and facial balance.

The goal of orthodontic treatment has been to accomplish the greatest possible enhancement to your teeth, face and smile permitted by your heredity and dental environment. There is no such thing as a perfect set of teeth or a perfect variety of retainers. Minor tooth movement occurs in every mouth throughout life, whether or not there has been prior orthodontic treatment. The most common area for change is in the lower front teeth. These changes are normal and may be greatly minimized or possibly eliminated by continued retainer wear on a long term basis.

The treatment fee includes the initial set of retainers and follow up for one year after the braces are removed. After this time, patients should call us if there are problems with their retainers.

Kinds of retainers

A bonded retainer is a small wire bonded (glued) to the tongue side of your upper and lower front teeth. Sometimes wires may be bonded elsewhere in the mouth on teeth that were particularly displaced prior to orthodontic treatment. The beauty of these retainers is their functional and aesthetic excellence and simplicity.

Clear overlay retainers are small and easy to wear. They also protect the surfaces of your teeth if you have a grinding or clenching habit.

Traditional removable retainers made with colored acrylic and wires are used infrequently.