To understand the importance of retention it would first be important to understand how teeth move in the first place. Braces and Invisalign both work by applying light consistent pressure on the teeth which causes a natural “break down” and “remodeling” process of the bone that holds our teeth in place thereby allowing an orthodontist to systematically reposition the teeth into a healthier position. It stands to reason that if your teeth can be moved to a healthier position, they could certainly move back! Teeth have a position memory that they’ll naturally be inclined to return to, in order to prevent that from happening, a retainer must be worn 12 hours a day for 1 full year after orthodontic treatment is complete and on a part time basis thereafter for a lifetime.
With or without orthodontic intervention teeth “move” as we age. Most people will report that their teeth are more crooked at 50 than they were at 25, no matter if they had braces or not. The only way to prevent that natural movement is to wear a retainer, at least periodically. A minimum of 1-2 times a week is recommended.
At The Village Orthodontist in Urbana, Dr. Moles educates his patients on the vital role retainers play in their treatment success. Retention is a lifetime effort. Just like corrective glasses or contacts, retainers need to be updated and maintained as you and your retainers “age” . Retainers do not last a lifetime of course, replacements will be needed. With today’s digital impressions and our ability to print your original models on demand, it’s even easier to maintain your smile over your lifetime.