Post-Orthodontic Retention

Our practice philosophy is to ensure that your hard work, commitment and the pleasing result is maintained long-term. The only way that we can support a stable orthodontic outcome is with life-long retention.

Retention is the maintenance phase responsible for keeping the teeth straight after the active phase of orthodontic treatment is completed.

What Is Orthodontic Relapse?

The orthodontic literature shows that a vast majority of patients will suffer from tooth movement after orthodontic treatment, which is called relapse. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict which patients are more susceptible to relapse than others.

Some of the reasons for relapse after orthodontic treatment are as follows:

  1. The ligaments and fibres around the teeth that have been stretched during treatment have a retractive effect.
  2. The natural forward movement of the teeth throughout life causes crowding, irrespective of orthodontic treatment.
  3. Life-long changes in lip, cheek and tongue pressure will affect the resting tooth position.

Retainers are a custom made, long-term solution to prevent tooth movement, stabilise the bite and prevent tooth wear during nocturnal clenching and grinding.

Fixed Orthodontic Retainers

The fixed retainers are stainless steel wires that are bonded behind the teeth and remain in the mouth permanently; they can stay in place for many years without harm. Routine brushing and flossing is the only maintenance required around the retainer due to its convenient zig-zag shape.

Removable Orthodontic Retainers

The removable retainer is a plastic plate worn during sleep hours only.

Some patients may cause excessive wear to the plastic retainer due to clenching and grinding. If this occurs, Dr Piller may recommend a more robust retainer called a splint.