Retainers

The job of a retainer is to keep teeth in the correct place so that orthodontic treatment is not reversed. In most cases after orthodontic intervention, teeth once an appliance is removed, the teeth will revert back to their original position. This is why its important after undergoing the main orthodontic treatment that you wear a retainer as instructed by your orthodontist.

There are three types of retainer that we offer, details of which are listed below


Hawley retainer (metal)

A Hawley retainer would be worn full time for approximately the first 12 months after your main appliance has been removed. The retainer is to be worn full time and should only be taken out for the purpose of cleaning. You will usually then be instructed to wear your retainer nocturnally for approximately 6 months further. All time frames for wearing retainers may vary, and are individual to each case. Some of the reasons why your orthodontist may prescribe you with a Hawley retainer are lack of room for a fixed retainer or if you have poor oral hygiene. These are available only on a private basis.

Important information

Wear every night in bed.

Brush your teeth before you put the retainer in at night and again in the morning when you remove the retainer.

Only remove the retainer by the metal clasps at the back NEVER by the front wire.

Bring it with you to all your orthodontic or dental appointments.

 
 

Essix retainer (clear)

Essix retainers are usually the choice of patients who do not want a visible retainer over their teeth. They are created by taking impressions of your newly aligned teeth and having moulds made from clear pressure formed plastic material. Essix retainers, although more aesthetically pleasing, are not as strong as the Hawley or fixed retainers.

Important information

A removable retainer is worn to hold your teeth in position while the gums and bones settle after movement.

If you do not wear your retainers your teeth will move.

After brace removal, the retainers must be worn every night for twelve months, then alternative nights for the next twelve months. This will then be reduced to part time wear by your orthodontist.

Changes in the tooth position will occur naturally with the ageing process and when retention is stopped, even after one year. However, following the 2 year retention phase, you may indefinitely continue with your retainers for 1-2 nights per week to help maintain tooth position.

The retainer should be removed for eating and drinking.
When your retainer is in your mouth DO NOT eat chocolate, sweets, chewing gum etc. Or drink sugary or fizzy drinks (incl. diet varieties) and acidic fruit juices. Water and milk are best.

Take the retainer out to clean your teeth, gently brush the retainer brace at the same time, and rinse the brace after meals with cool water.

It is important not to use toothpaste on clear gum shield type retainers.

Do not use very hot water with this type of retainer, as it will change shape and no longer fit!
You will find it is helpful to use retainer brite to freshen retainers.

Do not repeatedly click the brace in and out with your tongue as this will break or loosen the brace and could result in your teeth moving out of position.

When the retainer is out of the mouth, it should be stored in a rigid plastic container.

If your retainer breaks or is giving you prolonged discomfort, don’t wait for your next appointment, and get in touch to arrange a sooner visit ASAP. If your retainer is broken and you fail to contact us to have it fixed, your teeth may move.

A charge will be made for replacement of lost/broken/deformed retainers (Approx. £75 per retainer).

You need to carry on seeing your regular dentist for check-ups throughout your Orthodontic Treatment.

Always bring your retainers to your orthodontic appointments.

 
 

Fixed retainer (bonded)

To have fixed retainers, there must be enough room present in the mouth so that you do not bite down on the wires (which could cause damage to the retainer). A fixed retainer is a thin piece of wire that is bonded permanently on the upper and/or lower front teeth. It may be possible that you have room for a fixed retainer of your bottom teeth, but only room for a Hawley retainer on your upper teeth, the two can be worn in unison. These are available only on a private basis.

Important information

A fixed retainer is worn to hold your teeth in their new position permanently.

Changes in tooth position will occur naturally with the ageing process and when retention is stopped, even after one year. As this is the case we use permanent fixed retention to stop this.

You must keep the area where your retainer sits clean or it can lead to gum disease and cavities.

Using your toothbrush vertically behind the teeth, clean the area where the retainer lies all the way down to the gum margin. Use either interdental brushes or super floss or tepe brushes to clean between the teeth.

You need to be careful not to bend your retainer wires as this can cause the teeth to move. Therefore very hard foods should be eaten with the back teeth away from the wire and do not chew nails or pens.

If your retainer breaks or is giving you prolonged discomfort, don’t wait for your next routine appointment, get in touch to arrange a sooner visit ASAP. If your retainer is broken and you fail to contact us to have it fixed, your teeth may move and then nothing can be done.

Your fixed retainer has a guarantee period of 12 months, after which there will be a charge to have it repaired or refitted, the guarantee does not cover wanting a new retainer or alternative retainer type. Contact the surgery for details or consult your own dentist.

If you feel you are biting prematurely on your retainer and it is causing any discomfort contact the surgery and we can adjust it for you.

You need to carry on seeing your regular dentist for check-ups and have him/her check your retainer wires for you.

 

British Lingual Orthodontic Society
British Orthodontic Society
Royal College of Surgeons