The protocol concerning long-term retention varies greatly among orthodontists. Also, the level of cooperation among patients after treatment may vary even more! Some orthodontists6,7 believe that if beginning arch form (especially inter-cuspid width) is preserved, contact points are flatted for stability, and fiberotomies are carried out where needed, that little or no retention is necessary. Other work8,9 suggests that if teeth are to remain in position, permanent retention is needed. While each of these possible approaches may be satisfactory in certain cases, they may not be appropriate for others. Each orthodontist will establish a protocol, and the following 'middle of the road' approach might be a useful basis for decision making.
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