Retention refers to the period of time after the braces are removed and appliances called “retainers” are used. The purpose of the retainers is to minimize shifting of the teeth back toward their original positions. This shift is termed “relapse.”
As the field of orthodontics has evolved, the concept of retention has changed. In the early days of orthodontics, retainers were not used. The theory was, if a case was properly treated, nature would cooperate and maintain the result. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The teeth tended to relapse. As a result, appliances called retainers were developed to maintain the alignment. The use of retainers has lessened this relapse.
At first, it was thought that a year or two of retainers would be sufficient to prevent relapse. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The use of retainers for a year or two was found to be inadequate for certain stubborn relapse tendencies, especially the alignment of the lower front teeth.
The use of long-term retention has significantly reduced the amount of relapse. We will often remark to our patients we are not overly concerned with the appearance of the teeth the day the braces come off. We care how they look next year or ten years down the road.
We at Braces 4U have the experience to match the optimum treatment plan to individual needs. We are committed to working with our patients to produce a result that they will be proud of in the years to come.