After braces have been removed, teeth have a tendency to return to their original position erasing the results from treatment. To prevent this your orthodontist may advise that you wear a retainer. Wearing a retainer is simple, but it is actually a complex piece of equipment and a significant part of your orthodontic treatment. To maintain the success of your orthodontic treatment, it is vital that you wear your retainer in the way that your orthodontist advises.

It is difficult to say how long you will need to wear your retainer Ė each patient is an individual case, so your orthodontistís advice about how long will need a retainer will be tailored to you.

There are a range of different retainers available and your orthodontist will recommend to you the type of retainer that will best keep your teeth in position. Here is an outline of the different types of retainers your orthodontist may recommend:

  • Hawley Removable Retainers
    This is the most common retainer and is made of a metal wire that surrounds the teeth, keeping them in place. The wire is rooted to a piece of specially moulded acrylic, which resides in the palate or floor of the mouth.
  • Essix (Transparent)
    Removable Retainers Ė This is a clear or transparent retainer that is moulded to fit over the teeth. It is meant to be worn during the day for 6 months after treatment, with a Hawley retainer worn at night.
  • Bonded (Fixed) Retainers
    These consist of a wire bonded to the tongue-side of your teeth. They are designed to hold your teeth in a particular position for a long period of time, and the longer they remain in place the greater the guarantee that your teeth will remain straight.

Your orthodontist will have specially designed your retainer to help you maintain your treatment results.

In order to benefit from a lifelong healthy smiles, there are a few guidelines for wearing and taking care of your retainer that it is essential you follow:

Wear Your Retainer As Directed

If you donít follow your orthodontistís instructions for wearing a retainer, it will not be effective in preventing your teeth from moving back into their original position. Retainers donít work when theyíre in your pocket!


Keep Them Clean

Your orthodontist will show how best to keep your particular braces clean and this must be done very regularly. Also make sure you see your dentist for a thorough cleaning every six months (or more often, if recommended).

Handle Them With Care

If your retainer isnít in your mouth, it should be in its case. This is because retainers are very easy to lose, and expensive to replace.

If You Have a Problem, Call Your Orthodontist

If you break or lose your retainer, then contact your orthodontist immediately for a replacement. If your retainer stops fitting properly (which is liable to happen if you donít wear your retainer in the way your orthodontist advises) or if your fixed retainer becomes loose, call your orthodontist right away for an appointment.