A little while ago, I was chatting to someone who had just started on a course of short-term orthodontic treatment provided by their dentist. From discussion, it was clear that their orthodontic problem extended to more than cosmetic improvements but they were content with the course of treatment they had selected and were reassured by their dentist that in their case, retainers would not be required following treatment.
Fast forward a few years and the topic of retention seems to be a little more evolved but I’m still not convinced that the majority of patients understand the important role retainers take following treatment. You only have to spend five minutes searching for #retainers on Twitter to see what I mean! Within the profession, the topic of the best form of retention, whether retention should be lifelong or for a fixed period of time and the best methods of achieving a stable result are debated frequently so from a patient point of view, what is the right course of action after finishing treatment and what type of retainers are the best?
In another interesting post, Prof. O’Brien explores a recent study on the longer-term effects of fixed retainers vs removable ‘Essix’ retainers with the conclusion being that fixed retainers were more effective than removable retainers and that both retainers were associated with gingival inflammation and plaque accumulation.
What is particularly interesting about this post is the debate in the comments below the article discussing different aspects of retention and the purpose retention serves post-treatment. I’m sure there will be many other studies in the future and I’ll highlight these to you when available but for now, if you are confused about retention, speak to your orthodontist, discuss what is best for you and take their advice.
You can read the post from Prof. O’Brien here
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