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Having your braces installed and adjusted was just the first step in the process of aligning and reorienting your teeth into their ideal positions. Once you have achieved your new smile, you will still need to go through the retention phase to keep the periodontal ligaments from relapsing toward their old alignment.

Using a retainer in some form will help you hold your teeth in place until the periodontal tension subsides. There are three different types of retainers that your orthodontist, Dr. Mark Simpson, might recommend. The one that is right for you will depend on a couple of different factors.

A Hawley-style retainer is the most common type of retainer. This is a thin, tongue-shaped piece of acrylic that is custom fit to the shape of your mouth. The retainer is removable. When it’s in your mouth, it is secured by a set of wires that lock onto specific teeth.

A clear, plastic retainer might be needed if you only needed braces for a short period of time and if your smile only required minor realignment. It’s hard for the casual observer to even notice you’re wearing the retainer.

If your upper or lower teeth needed significant realignment by your braces, then Dr. Mark Simpson might need to install a fixed retainer behind the pertinent teeth. This is a sturdy metal band that is cemented in place.

The time needed to use the retainer will vary depending on how well your teeth respond. Over time, Dr. Mark Simpson might change the times you need to use a retainer. In the grand scheme, you should expect the retention phase to last as long as it took you to align your teeth.

If you are due to have your braces removed soon and you have questions about retainers in Charleston, West Virginia, you can always call Simpson Dental PLLC at 304-342-6162 to ask a question.