Retention

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Quality Orthodontic Treatment in Hampton Roads

At Eastern Virginia Orthodontics, our mission is to help every one of our patients achieve a healthy, beautiful, lifelong smile. That's why our doctors and highly trained team of orthodontic specialists work hard to provide expert orthodontic care, creating personalized treatment plans that perfectly suit each patient's unique orthodontic needs and lifestyle. But treatment doesn't end after you finish with your braces – in fact, that's only the beginning of ensuring your smile lasts you a lifetime. 

The Importance of Retention

After we remove your braces and finish the active stage of treatment, you'll enter the retention phase – and this is one of the most important parts of protecting your smile. While your teeth will be in new positions after braces, the bones, ligaments, and tissues that support them haven't yet adapted to their new positions and "set" into place. This means that without a retainer, your teeth will just move back to their old positions, erasing your hard work! Retention is an effective way to prevent this, safeguarding your smile for years to come. 

Types of Retainers

Every retainer we provide is custom-tailored to fit your unique mouth and bite. There are three main types of retainers, and each has it's own unique advantages:

Hawley Retainers

Hawley retainers are the most common type, as they're well suited to a variety of different orthodontic situations. Hawleys are composed of a sturdy piece of acrylic that's molded to fit the roof of your mouth and thin wires that help to keep your teeth in place. We can customize the acrylic with different colors to suit your own personal preference.

Essix Retainers

The Essix retainer is similar to Invisalign clear aligners in that it's a clear, removable plastic tray that fits directly onto the teeth. Essix retainers are virtually invisible when worn and easy to pop in and out, making them a convenient option for long-term use. They're a convenient, durable, and cost-effective option for retention.

Fixed Retainers

Unlike the other two types, fixed retainers aren't removable because they're bonded to the teeth with dental cement. Generally, a fixed retainer is simply a metal wire bonded to the inside (tongue-side) surface of the lower front teeth. Fixed retainers are a great option when there's a high risk of teeth moving back to old positions, as they're worn permanently during treatment. 

Tips for Maintaining a Lifelong Smile

Retention is critical to the long-term health of your smile, and with diligent care, you can safeguard your smile for a lifetime. Here are a few tips for ensuring you get the most out of your orthodontic treatment:

  • Wear Your Retainer as Prescribed: This is one of the most important steps for safeguarding your smile. Be sure to wear your retainer exactly as long as prescribed, as this is the only way to protect your beautiful new smile. 
  • Keep Your Teeth & Retainer Clean: Cleaning your retainer and teeth is critical for your oral hygiene. For Hawley retainers, you'll want to brush them as you would your teeth each time you remove them or put them back in. Brushing can scratch Essix retainers, so instead, just regularly soak them in a glass of water with a denture cleaning tablet. For fixed retainers, you can brush them normally and use floss threaders to floss under them.
  • Come Back for Checkups: Especially within the first year after treatment, we’ll need to carefully monitor your teeth to ensure they’re staying in their new positions. It’s important to schedule regular check up appointments so we can make sure everything is progressing smoothly.

Visit Eastern Virginia Orthodontics

By carefully following instructions and taking good care of your teeth and retainers, you can protect your smile and make it last a lifetime. If you have any questions on retention, orthodontic treatment, or want to come in for an appointment, we're always here to help. You can call us at 757-547-7002 for our Chesapeake office, 757-583-2333 for our Norfolk office, or 757-340-2881 for our Virginia Beach office, or if you'd like to schedule an appointment at one of our offices, you can do so using our easy online form. We look forward to hearing from you, and we're excited to help you improve your smile!