Orthodontic Retainers

Retainers help to keep your teeth in position once you have completed your orthodontic treatment. Having worn braces for many months or even years you do not want all that time and money going to waste!

Types of Retainers

Generally there are two types of retainers, fixed and removable, As the names suggest you can take out a removable retainer whilst the fixed retainer is bonded or glued into place. Sometimes your orthodontist or dentist will advise using both types of retainers, one to hold the front teeth and the other the back teeth.

Fixed

Fixed retainers can be made form thin cast metal or wires that are bonded to the back of your teeth so that no-one can see them. As these cannot be taken out they have the advantage of you not being able to forgetting to wear them. Not wearing your retainer can allow the teeth to move out of position.
fixed retainer

A ‘Bonded’ Fixed Retainer

The disadvantages of fixed retainers are:
  • They can make it difficult to clean your teeth
  • They generally are only good for front teeth retention
  • They can de-bond allowing your teeth to move ot of position

Removable

Removable retainers have a number of advantages:
  • They can be taken out to clean
  • They allow you to clean your teeth more easily
  • You don’t have to wear them all the time
There are some disadvantages though with removable retainers. If you forget to wear them your teeth could move out of position (relapse). A common type of removable retainers are made from a hard, clear plastic. They are often called Essix retainers. After wearing Invisalign clear braces you can wear Vivera retainers which are very similar. You can also get traditional retainers that have wires on them.
Essix Retainer

Essix Retainer

 
removable retainer

A Traditional Removable Retainer

Cleaning

Cleaning your retainers is important as bacteria can build up on them. Products such as retainer brite can help to keep them clean and sparkling.