After completion of orthodontic treatment, the teeth tend to slip back towards their original positions. This, if allowed to happen, is known as 'relapse'. If teeth are likely to relapse, they are referred to as 'unstable' and the part of treatment that prevents this is called 'retention'. Many orthodontists regard retention and the longterm management of stability as one of the most important and difficult parts of orthodontic care.
Certain types of dental problems such as twisted or overlapping front teeth and certain types of treatment such as arch widening or moving the lower incisors forward are more prone to relapse.
Retainers are the opposite of braces as they prevent movement rather than cause it. The main types are:
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