Grand Rapids, MI Orthodontist
No one wants to complete orthodontic treatment only for their teeth to shift back into misalignment. To prevent unwanted movement, you will be instructed to wear a for as often as directed. The retention phase may seem like a bothersome extra step, but it ensures you keep the beautiful smile you and our Grand Rapids orthodontist worked hard to create.
Depending on your orthodontic needs, your treatment may contain multiple phases for maximum effectiveness. One of those, retention, begins once you are done wearing your metal braces or clear aligners and unlike other phases, does not have a set end date.
What we mean by this is that your teeth will try to move out of place over time and to prevent this, a retainer will need to be worn periodically.
The retention process is designed to keep your teeth in proper alignment after your stainless steel, ceramic, or LightForce customized brackets are removed. The same applies when your Invisalign® clear aligner series is complete. It’s less about working to straighten crooked teeth and more about maintaining what was created during treatment.
Dr. Miller will fit you for a custom retainer after the bulk of your treatment is finished and will instruct you on when to wear the device.
The two major factors in the retention phase are length and frequency. When Dr. Miller first gives you your retainer, you will need to wear it day and night following active treatment, only taking it out for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. If the retainer is not worn as prescribed, progress made up to this point may be lost.
Every patient is different so Dr. Miller will let you know when you can begin to wear your retainer less. At each checkup appointment, we will examine your teeth and retainer to make sure all is going as planned. If your smile continues to maintain proper alignment, you will eventually only need to wear your retainer at night.
Just as you kept your teeth clean during treatment, the same attention will need to be applied to your retainer. If left alone, your retainer can accumulate plaque and bacteria on its surfaces. Prevent this from happening by gently brushing the device with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste.
Stick to using cool or lukewarm water (never hot or boiling) when cleaning your retainer and keep it in the designated case when not in use. If your retainer becomes broken, lost, or does not fit, please inform Dr. Miller immediately and we can determine next steps.