What is retention?

The retention phase of treatment is the subsequent 24 months after braces that are key in maintaining the effort and time behind our orthodontic treatments. Once braces are removed, teeth have a tendency to gradually become misaligned and with the help of retainers and retentive treatment we are able to keep our work and your smile intact. Retention uses different methods that are accustomed to our patient which can keep the smile you worked so hard to achieve!

How does retention work?

Retention uses retainers to maintain oral alignment once braces have been removed. There are two types of retainers: fixed and removable.


Fixed retainers are better known as permanent retainers which remain in the mouth to ensure that the symmetry of the teeth remain consistent once braces are removed. Only certain patients can qualify for fixed retainers and there are pro’s and con’s to this sort of retention plan so inquire with our orthodontist today!



Retainers that are removable come in two sets which are custom fitted to the patient’s oral cavity. These retainers are worn consistently for the first 12 months prior to the removal of braces only to be removed when brushing, eating, or during any physical activity. Once the 12 month mark has been reached, retention plans tend to be revised so that the retainer is only worn at night.


Removable retainers are expensive and delicate so when handling these retainers, always remember:

  • clean your retainers regularly with warm water, tooth paste, and a tooth brush
  • always place your retainer in its protective case to prevent any damage or contamination (because these do go back in your mouth!)
  • remove the retainer when ingesting food or if participating in sports such as swimming or that require a mouth guard
  • wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist to preserve the work and effort you and your doctor have worked for