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After removing the braces and the active phase of treatment, the retention period begins. In this period stabilization of the achieved result is carried out, holding the teeth with the help of special equipment, so-called retainers.

Why is it absolutely necessary to use retainers after the treatment?

The teeth are shifting due to the restructuring of the jaw bone under the pressure caused by orthodontic appliances.

In the area, where the tooth is moving, bone resorption occurs and on the opposite side there is in the process of bone formation. But the process of bone formation is much slower than its resorption. For this reason the teeth that are being moved are mobile even after the removal of the device. Therefore, splinting of the teeth is necessary for bone formation and stabilization of a favorable outcome.

Retainers can be removable and fixed. We prefer the use of a non-removable retainer, which is fixed to a special composite material to the inner surface of the teeth. (As a rule, in the space from canine to canine, but there may be variations.) The doctor-hygienist previously does professional oral hygiene.

These retainers in our opinion ensure a more stable result, as their presence does not depend on the patient's responsibility. It is only necessary to control the fixation of the retainer and visit the orthodontist regularly throughout the retention period. If any retainer come off a tooth, it is probably required in the next few days to come to the clinic and make an adjustment. Otherwise, some teeth may relapse.

We usually use transparent essix appliance as a removable retainer, which are produced by a vacuum-molding machine.

In our practice, we make such splints in addition to non-removable retainers, especially in cases of treatment with the extraction of teeth.

There are also retention devices of a functional type, which are called activators of retention. Such activators are used to keep the position of the mandible in the sagittal plane (forward and backward) and its correlation with the upper jaw.

How long does it take to wear retainers?

Duration of the retention period depends on:

  • the degree and type of the malocclusion;
  • the patient's age and heredity;
  • the availability of harmful habits and other functional disorders.

On average, we advise our patients to wear retainers for at least two years, during which period the patient should be inspected each month during the first half of the year, followed by a visit once every 2 months in the following 18 months.