June 30, 2019

Nowadays, having a nice smile is the order of the day. Many of us go through orthodontic treatment to achieve this ‘cinematic smile’ but many of us find it difficult to maintain it due to the lack of use of retention.

In this post we want to talk about the importance of the use of retention at the end of orthodontic treatment to prevent recurrence (unwanted movement of teeth). There are several types of retention, we will treat the most efficient and currently used as the lingual bar (fixed retention) and essix (removable aesthetic retention plate) and we will tell you the benefits and disadvantages of each of them as well as how to get a good maintenance to last if possible.


  • The essix is made of a thin transparent plastic material, which adapts perfectly to the teeth covering all our dental pieces. For your greater understanding we will say that it is a transparent cover that covers all your teeth.
  • It is a removable appliance that is removed and put on, which allows us to have a better hygiene of both the mouth and the appliance.
  • It is very IMPORTANT not to forget to put on the appliances to achieve their functionality as disuse for a long duration of days can cause the teeth to move to an unwanted position.
  • At the end of the orthodontic treatment, the doctor will indicate the correct use of the appliance. In general, it is recommended in most cases:
  • During the first month, it will be used 24 hours a day, except when the patient is going to eat.
  • In the second month its use is reduced to 16 hours a day (mornings and nights or afternoons and nights) removing it only 8 hours a day.
  • Finally, when the doctor deems it convenient, he or she will leave this retention only to sleep.


  • The lingual bar consists of a thin bar of fixed wire that is attached from canine to canine by the lingual (or internal) part of these teeth.
  • As it is a fixed appliance, we do not have to worry about putting it on and taking it off as in the case of the essix, but it must be considered that it makes oral cleaning difficult and can produce plaque (tartar) or recessions of the gums.
  • We must remember that it only goes from canine to canine not covering the molar areas so that there can be unwanted movements in these pieces of teeth making our bite may have mismatches and we do not bite.  


We leave you small indications to obtain the correct use and maintenance of these retentions.

In the case of Essix:

  • The device must always be in the mouth or in its box, avoiding other places that could cause its loss or breakage.
  • Place it with your hands and not with your teeth, this way we will prevent them from breaking.
  • Do not eat or drink with them.
  • Do not smoke with them
  • Wash it with cold water (to avoid deformation) and neutral soap, using a nail brush.
  • Dry it carefully by tapping to remove the water.
  • Do not manipulate it.
  • It is recommended to use disinfectant tablets periodically.    

In the case of the Lingual Bar:

  • Constant cleaning with a toothbrush after every meal.
  • Periodic oral hygiene for a better cleaning and to avoid the accumulation of plaque. Always recommended by a doctor.         

Finally, remember that the retention phase is the most important part of orthodontic treatment and ensuring that this is effective will depend 100% on you and that you use them correctly, as well as going to check-ups with your orthodontist so that he or she can check the condition of your appliances.

Our advice and opinion are that the essix is the retention appliance that totally fulfils the function of keeping all the teeth in the position obtained if we are responsible and do not forget to use them.

And if we want a greater security to put in addition the lingual bar like support without stopping using the essix.

All this always bearing in mind that each case is unique to each patient and the doctor is the one who best knows the case and may have the right decision.

The orthodontists of our clinics in Asisa Dental will be delighted to advise you and help you to achieve and maintain that MOVIE SMILE!

Because at Asisa Dental what matters most to us is to make you SMILE.

An article by Paloma Cabildo Plaza

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