After completing orthodontic treatment and achieving a beautifully aligned smile, the next crucial phase begins: retention. Orthodontic retainers are essential for maintaining the results of your treatment. Orthodontics in Yakima WA, provides retainers to help patients achieve proper teeth alignment. They help ensure that your teeth stay in their new positions and prevent any regression. Here’s why orthodontic retainers are crucial and how to care for them:

1. Retention is Key

Your teeth have been moved into their desired positions during orthodontic treatment, but they are still prone to shifting back to their original locations. This tendency is known as relapse. Retention is the phase of treatment that prevents relapse and preserves your hard-earned results.

2. Types of Retainers

There are different types of retainers, including:

– Removable Retainers: These are made of plastic or acrylic and have a wire that holds your teeth in place. They are typically worn full-time initially and then gradually transitioned to nighttime wear.

Fixed or Bonded Retainers: These are thin wires that are bonded to the back of your teeth, usually on the lower front teeth. They provide continuous support and are not removable.

Clear Aligner-style Retainers: These are similar in appearance to clear aligners like Invisalign but are designed specifically for retention. They are removable but should be worn as directed by your orthodontist.

3. Compliance is Essential

Following your orthodontist’s instructions for retainer wear is crucial. Failing to wear your retainers as prescribed can lead to relapse, which may necessitate further orthodontic treatment.

4. Cleaning and Maintenance

To maintain your retainers and overall oral health:

Clean Removable Retainers: Remove your retainer to clean it regularly. Use a soft toothbrush and mild soap or retainer cleaning tablets to remove plaque and bacteria. Avoid hot water, as it can distort the plastic.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Continue practicing excellent oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash to prevent plaque buildup.

Avoid Excessive Force: Do not bend or twist your removable retainers, as this can damage them. When not in use, store them in their case to prevent loss or damage.

Regular Check-ups: Attend follow-up appointments with your orthodontist as recommended to ensure that your retainers are still effective and in good condition.

5. Long-Term Wear

Orthodontists often recommend wearing retainers for an extended period, typically on a nightly basis, to ensure that your teeth remain stable in their new positions. Gradually reducing wear may be an option as your orthodontist advises.

6. Replacement

Retainers may need replacement over time due to wear and tear. It’s essential to have them assessed regularly by your orthodontist to determine if they are still effective.


Orthodontic retainers are an integral part of the orthodontic process, ensuring that your newly aligned smile stays that way. By following your orthodontist’s instructions for retainer wear and maintenance, you can enjoy the benefits of your orthodontic treatment for years to come. Remember, retention is the key to preserving your straight smile and the investment you’ve made in your oral health.