Expert Orthodontics in Erie, PA

A healthy, beautiful smile is an incredible asset that lasts a lifetime – and at Doleski & Wolford Orthodontics, our mission is to help you achieve a beautiful new smile comfortably and conveniently. Drs. Kenneth A. Doleski & Marian S. Wolford work with patients on an individual level, designing highly personalized treatment plans that perfectly suit each patient's unique needs and lifestyle. While most people are familiar with the active phase of treatment, one of the most important parts of orthodontic treatment actually starts when we take your braces off: the retention phase.

Why Do I Need a Retainer?

It may seem counterintuitive, but getting your braces off isn't actually the final step in orthodontic treatment. After we remove your braces or you finish your Invisalign treatment, you'll enter the retention phase – and this is critically important to the long-term health of your smile.

That's because while your teeth have moved to new positions, the underlying bones, ligaments, and tissues that support them have yet to adjust and "set" into place for the new alignment. Left to their own devices, your teeth will actually drift back to their old positions, ruining your gorgeous new smile! Wearing a retainer helps protect your new smile, safeguarding it for a lifetime. Retention is a crucial part of treatment for every orthodontic patient (yes, even for Invisalign treatment), and we'll fit you for your retainer during the same appointment in which we take your braces off.

Types of Retainers

Not all retainers are created equally, and there are three main varieties we use for retention treatment. We'll work with you to choose the best one for your situation. The most commonly-used types of retainers include:

  • Hawley: Hawley retainers are the one most people know best, and they're made from an acrylic plate molded to fit the roof of your mouth and wires that wrap around teeth. Hawleys are durable, effective, and simple, making them ideal for many patients.
  • Clear Aligner: Clear aligner-type retainers are very similar in appearance to Invisalign aligners. Made from transparent plastic, these aligners fit directly onto the teeth and are virtually invisible when worn. This makes them a popular option, although they won't work for every patient.
  • Fixed: A fixed retainer, also called a bonded retainer, is simply a metal wire cemented to the inside surface of the teeth. We'll generally use these for patients with a high risk of teeth returning to original positions, as it ensures that retention happens around the clock. While they're not visible from the outside, you'll still need to use floss threaders to floss your teeth under the retainer.

Schedule a Consultation To Start Orthodontic Treatment in Erie, PA

Retention is an unexpected part of the process for many patients, but it's absolutely critical to orthodontic success. Wearing your retainer will ensure your smile truly lasts a lifetime – and if you'd like to improve your life with a beautiful new smile of your own, we'd be thrilled to help. If you'd like to get started with orthodontic treatment, schedule an appointment online at either our Corry, Lawrence Park, or Erie, PA orthodontic office. We'll work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle, and we'll help you achieve a smile you're proud to show off for the rest of your life.