Beginner’s guide to Orthodontics: Maintaining Results with Retainers

Once your orthodontist has finished moving your teeth, retainers should be provided to maintain your new, beautiful smile. Retainers are custom fit devices that are removable, or bonded permanently in place, depending on your bite and  preference. They help guarantee that your teeth remain in their correct position.

What do retainers look like?

Unlike the bulky Hawley retainers that were common in the past, nowadays there are several types of incognito retainers that you can choose from. You may wear clear, plastic retainers that look like Invisalign trays, or bonded retainers that are discreetly glued behind your front teeth. Removable retainers will eventually be worn at night, so they will not require attention during the day. You may also have the option of a bonded wire retainer. It is glued behind the front teeth and does not show at all.  This type of retainer provides comfortable, full-time, permanent stability for the results your orthodontist achieved. A bonded retainer will, however, require a little extra time and effort to keep it, and your teeth, clean.  For that reason, it’s recommended to have a dentist check it every four to six months.

How long should you wear retainers?

While undergoing orthodontic treatment (with either braces or Invisalign) the bone structure and tissue around the teeth are affected as the teeth shift to their intended position. The bone and tissue need to stabilize after the treatment is complete.After your teeth stabilize, your orthodontist will eventually instruct you to wear the retainers at night. After about a year, you can reduce the wear to just a few nights a week. Since your teeth tend to shift as you age, it’s recommended that you wear the retainers on a regular basis, for as long as you want to maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment.

If you have removable retainers, you’ll typically beasked to wear them day and night for at least two months after your orthodontist stops moving the teeth. However, you can take them off to eat and should clean your teeth before putting them on again. Make sure to store the retainers in a sturdy case whenever they’re not in your mouth to prevent loss and breakage.

Caring for your retainer

Retainers should be carefully cleaned on a daily basis – just like your teeth – to prevent the build-up of calculus which can increase your risk of periodontal (gum)disease. Using an ultrasonic flosser or proxy brush will help clean between the teeth and around a fixed retainer.  Removable retainers can be soaked in a retainer-cleaning solution, available in most pharmacies, and scrubbed with a toothbrush.

If you suddenly notice a difference in how your retainer feels or fits, you  should visit your orthodontist as soon as possible. The retainer might have broken, allowing teeth to shift position. You should be prepared to pay for the repair and replacement of your retainers, but it’s worth the investment to maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment.

Retainers are important for the maintenance of your teeth after successful realignment. If you wear them as recommended by your orthodontist, they will help preserve the position of your teeth as you continue to age

To learn more about how you can achieve and maintain optimal orthodontic treatment by wearing a retainer, visit the Daher Orthostyle website at

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