What are retainers?

Retainers are appliances that are used to keep the teeth straight. After braces are removed, teeth will want to move back to their original positions. Wearing retainers will stop the teeth from moving back.

Teeth have a tendency to move throughout all our lives. This movement occurs whether we have had braces or not.

What types of retainers are there?

Retainers can be removable or fixed. We will discuss these with you at the planning stage of your treatment and advise which retainers will be most appropriate for you. Generally, patients will be provided with a combination of fixed and removable retainers.

How long will I need to wear retainers?

This depends very much on how your teeth looked before treatment started. The standard recommendation for removable retainers is to wear them full-time for 1 month, then sleeping hours only for a further 11 months. After that time you will be asked to reduce the wear even further.

We ask you to cut out one night per week of wear each month until you are wearing the retainers for sleeping hours between 2 and 8 times per month and you are advised to carry this on indefinitely.

If you have been told to follow the STANDARD RETAINER WEAR REGIME, wear your removable retainers as outlined below. Remember, if your retainers feel really tight when you put them in, it usually means the teeth are trying to move and so you should wear the retainers more often.

Fixed retainers remain in your mouth. They last many years but like all things in your mouth, they need to be checked periodically. Usually, your dentist is able to check them at your regular check up appointments. If the fixed retainer breaks, you may have to see an orthodontist again to have it repaired or replaced.

What if I don't wear the retainers?

If you decide not to wear your retainers or only wear them for a short time, your teeth will move. They will have a tendency to move back towards their original positions. Often, they will not go as far back as they were before but they will not be straight either.

How are retainers made?

All that is required is an impression or scan (detailed record of your teeth) which is taken at the end of your brace treatment. This impression is taken at the same visit as your braces being removed. The retainer is fitted very soon after.

How often will I need to be seen by the orthodontist?

You will not need to see the orthodontist as often when you start to wear retainers. Usually, we will review you 3 months after your braces have been removed and then again 9 months later. After this time, we usually ask you to see you regular dentist for future checks.

Can I bleach my teeth now?

Now your braces are off and your teeth are straight, you may want to consider bleaching your teeth. You should discuss this with your regular dentist.