Getting or having braces is quite a big deal for sure with the long treatment period, follow-ups & the discomfort faced during and after adjustments made which includes dull soarness or throbbing pain along with some amount of restrictions on munching your favorite food during this period. 😦

But the end result of all this is an improved facial appearance with properly aligned teeth aiding in speech & mastication ; in short A healthy new smile :).

Is that the end of the story ?? Certainly not !!

The main part of the whole treatment is how you maintain the corrections made & retain it for future.

Here’s where terms like retention & relapse come into picture.

What is retention?

Maintaining newly moved teeth in position,long enough to aid in stabilizing their correction.-Moyers

Why do patients need retention?

Because of the post treatment changes that occur leading to relapse.

Relapse-Loss of any correction achieved by orthodontic treatment. Causes of relapse:

  • Periodontal ligment traction
  • Due to growth related changes
  • Bone adaptation
  • Muscular forces
  • Failure to eliminate the cause of malocclussion
  • Eruption of third molars
  • Role of occlusion

Schools of retention:

Theories of retention:

Riedel summarized the nine theories and Moyers added another theory which is the tenth theory mentioned here.

  • Theorem 1: Teeth that have been moved tend to return to their former position
  • Theorem 2:Elimination of the cause of malocclussion will prevent relapse
  • Theorem 3:Malocclussion should be over-corrected as a safety factor
  • Theorem 4: Proper occlusion is a potent factor in holding teeth in their corrected positions
  • Theorem 5:Bone & adjacent tissues must be allowed time to reorganize around newly positioned teeth
  • Theorem 6: If the lower incisors are placed upright over basal bone they are more likely to remain in good alignment
  • Theorem 7: Corrections carried out during the periods of growth are less likely to relapse
  • Theorem 8: The farther the teeth have been moved ,the lesser is the risk of relapse
  • Theorem 9: Arch form,particularly in the mandibular arch,cannot be permanently altered by appliance therapy
  • Theorem 10: Many treated malocclussion require permanent retaining devices

Remember as : REOP TLP FAR (REOPening To Let Patients Follow And Retain)


Sources: Bhalaji -Orthodontics the art and science,,

2 thoughts on “RETENTION-Theories

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