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Orthodontic Retention - Plano, TX

Permanent Results Using Trusted Retainers

At Willow Bend Orthodontics of Plano, we are always excited when the day arrives for a patient to have their braces removed. After months or years of treatment, it can be a refreshing realization that the brackets and wires or clear aligners no longer have to be normalcy. But with the removal of these orthodontic appliances comes the necessary component of adding a retainer. Vital to the ultimate success of a person’s new smile, these unique oral appliances help to keep teeth firmly in their new location, preventing pearly whites from shifting out of alignment and back into their original spot. If you’re ready to learn more about the type of retainer you will need as well as if it will be covered by dental insurance, contact our office and schedule a consultation with our orthodontist, Dr. Jones and Dr. Hanson, today.

Standard Hawley or Wrap

A person holding a Hawley retainer in Plano

If you started treatment with a normal overbite, you will likely need to wear a standard Hawley or wrap retainer when finished. These oral devices are created using an impression or digital scan of your smile and can be an ideal solution should you need to wear a retainer long term. It is true that they are more expensive and require more frequent adjusting, and they can break easily if you’re not careful. However, this type of retainer is a great option if you notice your facial muscles and jaw moving with your bite. If you were to wear a retainer that does not allow for adjustability, you could suffer from bruxism and cause wear and tear to your teeth.

A key takeaway with this type of orthodontic retention is that with proper care and maintenance, your retainer can last a long time. Yes, if you’re not being mindful, it can break, but the acrylic used to create your retainer will not stretch over time, allowing for a longer-lasting solution.

Anterior Biteplate

A young patient holding an anterior biteplate in Plano

Similar in appearance to the Hawley retainer, an anterior biteplate is created using clear thermoformed plastic and is an ideal option for patients who have a significant overbite or lower incisors that are “overly-erupted.” If you clench or grind your teeth and have strong facial muscles, this device will help to keep your front teeth firmly in place while making sure your posterior teeth have plenty of room to push through.

An orthodontist near me will recommend that you do not wear this type of retainer all the time, as your posterior teeth can erupt unevenly. This is why only individuals with a deep bite will benefit most from receiving an anterior biteplate.

Posterior Occlusal Coverage

A posterior occlusal coverage retainer sitting next to a mouth mold in Plano

Should you receive treatment for an anterior open bite or vertical growth pattern, Dr. Jones and Dr. Hanson will likely recommend a posterior occlusal coverage retainer. Designed to be worn on the top or bottom row of teeth, it looks similar to a splint and does require that your orthodontist adjust it when ready for placement. You’ll be pleased to know that with this type of retainer, you will enjoy greater stability. Also, if your teen requires a posterior occlusal coverage retainer, it may help to regulate their vertical changes if there is any potential for underlying growth.

Plastic Full Coverage

A person holding a plastic coverage retainer in Plano

A plastic full coverage retainer is made of clear plastic after obtaining a digital scan of your teeth. Whether you have a missing tooth or are simply starting the restorative phase of treatment after completing orthodontics, a plastic full cover retainer is a great option. However, with these come the realization that the plastic can stretch over time, resulting in necessary replacements. The good news is that because of its clear appearance, it will be unlikely for anyone to notice you are wearing it.


A dentist showing a male patient how a dental splint works in Plano

If the reason for your initial orthodontic treatment included issues with the positioning of your jaw, a splint can help to ensure that it along with your facial muscles and bite alignment remain in place. Offering full coverage, it is great if you need long-term retention to maintain a healthier, more beautiful smile.

Orthodontic Retention FAQs

Woman smiling as she holds two orthodontic retainers

Orthodontic retention is a vital stage of your treatment — without it, your teeth could quickly drift into their former positions. Our orthodontists in Plano want you to be able to enjoy the results of your braces for a lifetime, so feel free to ask us any questions you may have about keeping your teeth where they belong. In the meantime, you can check out the following list of FAQs about this aspect of orthodontic treatment.

How Long Will I Have to Wear a Retainer?

The answer to this question can vary between individuals. If you undergo orthodontic treatment as a child or adolescent, it is likely that you will be able to stop retainer use after 10 years or so. Your teeth should be solidified enough in their new positions that they will not drift out of place. Adults who get braces in Plano, on the other hand, are likely to need to wear a retainer throughout their lifetime.

What Should I Do if My Retainer Breaks?

Schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. Delays in seeking care could give your teeth the chance to drift out of place, especially if you only recently completed your braces or clear aligner treatment. When you get to our office, we will assess the damage and repair your device if possible. If it is not possible, we will work to get a replacement for you.

Do not try to repair the retainer on your own with superglue or any other substance that isn’t meant to be used in the mouth. You might accidentally worsen the damage or cause irritation to your oral tissues.

Can I Eat While Wearing My Retainer?

Some patients have a retainer that is fixed to their teeth, so they should feel free to eat a variety of foods. If they are diligent about oral hygiene, their retainer should remain functional and clean. If your retainer is removable, though, you should take it out of your mouth whenever you eat. Doing so can protect it from damage and prevent it from accumulating harmful bacteria. Not wearing it while eating can also reduce the risk that it will start to take on an unpleasant odor.

How Long Does a Retainer Last Before It Needs to Be Replaced?

The answer to this question depends on which type of retainer you have. A Hawley retainer, for example, has the potential to last for 5 – 10 years before it needs to be replaced. An essix retainer, conversely, has a shorter lifespan, typically lasting around 3 years or so.

Be sure to keep an eye on your retainer. If you ever notice damage or it seems that it does not fit like it should, it might be time to visit our 5-star practice and ask if it is time to purchase a replacement.