Orthodontic retainers

Congratulations and well done! You have successfully completed the active phase of your orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontic retainers are placed at the end of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic retainers are designed to retain your teeth in their new positions after your braces are removed. It is very important that you wear the orthodontic retainers as directed. It takes time to adjust to your new orthodontic retainers and you may temporarily produce more saliva than usual. Your speech may be different at first, but will improve within the first week.

Various types of orthodontic retainers are available. These retainers can be removable retainers or fixed retainers (see below).

  • Plastic retainers are removable. You should clean them by removing and brushing them with a toothbrush in cool water. Please hold the orthodontic retainer gently to avoid breaking it. Please do not use hot water for cleaning as this may cause the retainer to distort. These retainers should be removed from the mouth when playing contact sports, eating, drinking and cleaning.
  • Wire retainers are fixed to your teeth and cannot be removed. You should clean them with your toothbrush and floss. Please call us if you are unsure of how to clean your orthodontic retainers.

Some helpful tips

It is very important that you eat a healthy, balanced diet and that you keep your teeth and orthodontic retainers very clean. If you do not take care of your orthodontic retainers and teeth, you may be prone to decay and gum disease. Please wear your orthodontic retainers as directed or your teeth may become crooked again. If you are not wearing your retainers, you may not realize that your teeth have moved. You may find that by the time you notice, the retainer will no longer fit and you may need orthodontic treatment again! Orthodontic retainers should not cause discomfort.

If you do experience discomfort or are unable to wear the retainer, or if the retainer is damaged, please contact us immediately. Do not wait until your next visit!


Retainer care and cleaning

What to expect

Your retainers may feel a little tight and uncomfortable for a few days. This is normal! Your speech may also be affected initially, but will improve quickly.

Removable Retainer

  • Wear your retainer as directed
  • Very Important – When removing your retainers initially start with your fingers towards the back on either side of the retainer and slightly lower the retainer off the teeth. To release and remove the retainers completely continue by pulling down on the retainer at the front of the mouth.
  • Clean your teeth and retainers with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Rinse your retainer well in cool water. Make sure the retainer is supported in the palm of your hand to avoid cracking.
  • Remove the retainers before eating, drinking and playing sport. Store them in the case provided when you are not wearing them.
  • Retainers are sensitive to heat. Therefore do not leave them in the sun or clean them with hot water.
  • To keep your retainers extra clean, occasionally soak them with denture cleaning tablets. No longer than approximately 15 minutes or the material can ‘warp’. Rinse thoroughly after use.

Fixed Retainer

  • Clean your teeth as normal with a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.
  • Floss underneath the fixed retainers daily with ‘superfloss’ or by using a floss threader.
  • If the fixed retainer becomes loose or breaks, please let our office know and we can make you an appointment to have the retainer repaired.

Please note: If a retainer is damaged or lost a replacement fee will normally be incurred.

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