Retention is a very important phase of orthodontic treatment which maintains the teeth in their new position following active orthodontic treatment. Retainers resist the tendency of teeth to return to their pre-treatment position. There are two different types of retainers, removable and fixed/bonded. Your orthodontist will advise you on what type of retention is recommended for you individual problem. This can include combination of both removable and fixed retainers.
Removable retainers are custom made devices made of clear plastic.
How often do I need to wear my removable retainers?
- For the first 6 months following brace removal, 12 continuous hours every night. If the retainers feel very tight during this period and there is a noticeable difference between the day and night time position of the teeth, you must contact the practice.
- From 6 months - 12 months, 8 continuous hours every night.
- 1 year – 2 years, every other night (8 hours a night).
- 2 years onwards, 2–3 times a week (8 hours a night).
- If the retainers are stopped at any time, there is a possibility the teeth will move out of alignment.
- You should not be embarrassed to return if you have not worn the retainers and the retainers do not fit – a new retainer will prevent any further movement.
- Retainers should be worn in the evening and while sleeping.
- You should not stop wearing your retainers after 6 months, as the teeth will move.
- If a gap develops between the teeth and the retainer, it is a sign that your retainer is not fitting you should contact the practice.
- Your removable retainer will last you 3 – 5 years, depending on how well you look after them. If you need a new retainer, please contact the practice. There may be a charge for a new retainer.
A fixed retainer consists of a passive wire bonded (glued) to the tongue side of the front teeth. As these retainers are fixed to teeth, excellent oral hygiene is necessary.
- Dental hygiene around the retainers needs to be excellent
- Flossing needs to be performed regularly
- The use of inter-dental brushes (TePe brushes) will help to keep the teeth clean
- If good oral hygiene is not maintained there is a possibility of tooth decay and gum disease around the bonded retainer
- Hard foods should be avoided to prevent breakage
- You will need to see your dentist/hygienist more frequently to help you keep the fixed retainer clean
- You will receive a reminder from us every 12 – 24 months as your fixed retainers will need to be checked on regular basis
- If the fixed retainer breaks please contact the practice as teeth can move very quickly