Making Your New Smile Last

So you’ve finally gotten to the day where you get your braces off, and you get to marvel at that perfectly looking, radiant new smile of yours. While all of us here at Grand Ridge Orthodontics will be celebrating with you too, there’s still one more stage to go with your orthodontic treatment: retention.

What Is Retention?

Retention is the final phase of your orthodontic treatment where we make sure that your new smile lasts for a lifetime. What happens during retention is that your orthodontist will give you an appliance called a retainer, which will fit comfortably over your teeth. While this retainer is in place, it will make sure that your teeth stay in this new positioning, preserving your perfect smile.

Why Do I Need A Retainer?

Retainers are necessary, because even though you’ve had your braces on for a long time and your teeth have moved a great deal, they actually aren’t locked in place just yet. In order for your teeth to stay that way, your jaw bone and gums surrounding the teeth need time to adjust too. Without a retainer, your teeth will just start moving back to where they were before you even got your braces, and the last thing you want to do it start all over!

How Long Do I Wear My Retainer?

Generally, for teenagers, you will have a removable retainer that you should wear at all times for about 12 months to ensure there’s not even the slightest movement during this sensitive adjustment phase.  After those 12 months, you can start to wear your retainer only at night. By the time you reach the age of 18, you can start reducing the amount you wear your retainer to once per week at night. In some cases, fixed retainers are used which can’t be removed, but are subtly placed behind the teeth and are hardly noticeable.

What Kind Of Retainers Are There?

At Grand Ridge Orthodontics, we offer three main types of retainers. The type of retainer that your orthodontist will give you depends on what meets your needs best. The types of retainers include:

Hawley Retainers


The Hawley retainer is one of the most common types of retainers that you’ll see. It’s a simple, removable retainer that is made from a combination of a durable acrylic, and some metal wiring to ensure that your teeth keep their new structure. These retainers are customized to fit you perfectly, since they’re constructed using a mold of your teeth. The acrylic can be personalized with a wide array of different colors and patterns, so you can make your retainer unique to you. Hawley retainers are also easy to clean, since you can take them out and give them a gentle brushing with a toothbrush and toothpaste, or use denture cleaning solution.

Fixed Retainers


Fixed retainers are of form of non-removable retainer, which are permanently attached to the backside of your teeth. These are ideal for preventing movement in the lower teeth, and since it’s always attached, you never have to worry about losing it. It’s crucial to keep the retainer clean, so making sure that you brush and floss in between the teeth and retainer will ensure that you always have a healthy looking smile


Essix Retainer

The Essix retainer is a clear removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth. Essix retainers have no metal wires or acrylic, and instead use a durable plastic that is completely translucent. When you slide the retainer on over your teeth, the retainer itself is practically invisible. They are easy to clean too, just like Hawley retainers, since you can remove them for a quick brush with your toothbrush and toothpaste.

Contact Us With Your Questions!

If you have any questions about the retention process or what retainer would be right, just contact us and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions. At Grand Ridge Orthodontics, our passion is providing our patients with the quality orthodontic care that they deserve, creating new and beautiful smiles in the process. If you want to transform your smile, schedule an appointment with us today!