Stabilising the Result of Treatment
Once a course of orthodontic treatment with a brace has come to an end, we cannot assume that the teeth will simply stay in their new position of their own accord. Without taking any additional measures, the situation will quickly relapse back to square one. So if patients want a lasting result, they will have to do something to stabilize the position of the teeth and continue with this for the rest of their lives!
Anything that is done to stabilise the result of orthodontic treatment once the active phase of treatment has been completed is called retention. Retention is an absolutely essential part of orthodontic treatment because the teeth will have a natural tendency to return to their former position once treatment has been completed. Various fixed and removable braces are used for retention and all of these appliances are classed as retainers.
As a rule, the best solution is to use a retainer for life, whether it be a fixed or removable brace. But most orthodontists believe that fixed retainers are more reliable.