A healthy and beautifully aligned smile may be a dream for many! There is a lot that goes into achieving straighter teeth and improved oral health. Orthodontic treatment through braces helps treat dental flaws like crowding, crooked teeth, missing teeth, or spaces in between. You may be at the end of the road of your braces journey. All your hard work is about to be paid off! But wait, you still gotta undergo your retention phase! 

The retention phase by the Irving Texas orthodontist is as important as the first phase and rounds out the whole treatment process once your braces have been removed. Let’s take a look at what retainers are, how they work, and why they are the key to long-lasting results. 

What are retainers?

Retainers are orthodontic appliances that keep your newly aligned teeth in place once the active phase of the treatment is complete. Retainers are very important to prevent the teeth from shifting back to their previous position. 

During the active phase, pressure is applied to the teeth to move them into the desired pressure. Once the phase is over, the pressure is released and the teeth may rebounce. Thus pressure is added in the form of retainers on your teeth to prevent them from drifting back. Regular retainer use allows your teeth to settle in their new positions permanently. 

How long do retainers need to be worn once treatment is complete?

Most often retainers need to be worn continuously for a certain number of hours to keep the teeth in place. Some dentists even recommend wearing them overnight, while most of them recommend using them during the daytime. 

What types of retainers are available?

Here is a look at the different types of retainers that are available:

  • Fixed retainers 
      • These consist of a thin wire bonded behind the bottom or top teeth, or sometimes both. 
      • These offer the best outcome. 
  • Removable retainers 
      • There are two types of removable retainers:
        • Hawley retainer 
          • It has a piece of acrylic that rests against the roof or bottom of your mouth, and an attached wire that goes around your teeth. 
  • Essix or clear retainer
        • The clear retainer is made up of a smooth, BPA-free plastic just like clear aligners. 
        • They are transparent and are nearly invisible.

How to care for your orthodontic retainer?

Here are some useful tips for caring for your retainers:

  • Brush and floss around your fixed retainer
  • Always keep your removable retainers on the case when not using them
  • Remove your retainers before eating or drinking 
  • Gently brush your retainer with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste 


Now that you know everything about retainers, we hope you understand their importance after your braces are removed.