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Article: Volume 49 Number 2 Page 119 - February 2022

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  Dental Update 497: 119-125

Orthodontics:  Orthodontic Retainers: Now you have Finished your Orthodontic Treatment how do you Manage Long-term Post-orthodontic Retention?

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Abstract: Retention is a key phase of orthodontic treatment that aims to maintain teeth in their corrected position following active orthodontic treatment. Although the evidence base is limited, there is now general consensus that orthodontic patients should wear their retainers life-long. This poses serious questions as to who is responsible for ensuring that the retainers are in good working order and fit for purpose. This article aims to set out some guidance for specialists, general dental practitioners and patients on the management of long-term retention, taking into consideration the best available knowledge. This article also aims to provide some guidance and rationale for retention wear and regimens. It is understood of course that these should be modified and individually assessed for each patient and their malocclusion.

Clinical relevance: A knowledge of how to assess and maintain orthodontic retainers is essential for the practising dentist.

Author notes: Rupal Shah, BDS (Hons); MJDF RCS (Eng), MClinDent, MOrth RCS (Eng), Post-CCST in Orthodontics, Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals, London. Joseph Noar, MSc; BDS; FDSRCS(Ed); FDSRCS(Eng), DOrthRCS(Eng); MOrthRCS(Eng); FHEA, Consultant Orthodontist/Honorary Senior Lecturer, Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospital, London. email: rupal.shah8@nhs.net

Objective: The reader should understand the rationale for long-term orthodontic retention, and how this should be managed from a practical perspective.