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The Importance of Retainer Wear

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When you finish your orthodontic treatment, you are excited to be free of the appliances you’ve had to put up with—brackets, wires, aligners, and so on. However, while it is certainly important to revel in the freedom of your new smile, equally important is taking the necessary action to retain it. And that comes down to one word — retainers.

After completing orthodontic treatment under the care of the Dr. Herman, you will be prescribed a retainer that will be custom-made to fit your smile. Dr, Herman will give you instructions for how and when to wear this retainer, characterizing it as your  “retention phase.” We recommend that you sleep in your retainer every night after treatment for the rest of your life to help prevent a relapse where the teeth can shift.

Ongoing Shifts

Even if you’ve had the best orthodontic treatment possible, over time your teeth will start to shift toward their original positions. This is because your gum fibers will slowly, but consistently try and pull your teeth back to where they once were. Additionally, as you age your facial skeletal structure changes, and your teeth experience natural wear. As a result, the perfectly straight smile you leave the orthodontist with could become unstraightened over time, your teeth becoming a victim to a crowding relapse.

Shifting & Retention Case Study

The University of Washington conducted a case study in which former orthodontic patients were studied for 10 – 20 years after completing their orthodontic treatment. The results—without fail, no matter what type of orthodontic treatment the patients originally underwent (braces, extractions, Invisalign, etc.) they all experienced an orthodontic relapse. In other words, their teeth moved. And how straight their smiles remained was directly related to their retainer wear.

When to Wear

We recommend wearing your retainer at night as often as possible for as long as possible. This will make the difference in preserving your straight smile for the future. If something happens to your retainer, please call our office as soon as possible so we can figure out options for you with retainer replacements. You do not want to go too long without wearing your retainer as it can compromise your perfect smile that has taken years of hard work to achieve!

Dr. Herman is also now offering NEW Invisalign options that you could be a candidate for if you are needing re-treatment due to a relapse. Call to schedule a FREE consultation today! (918) 492-4822 or you can schedule online at

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