What is a retainer?

Retainers are an essential part of treatment. Once the active treatment is finished and the teeth are in the new position they need to be held (retained) in the same position or they will move again.

How long should I wear a retainer for?

The simple answer is "As long as you want your teeth to stay straight!"
The potential for the teeth to move is highest for the first twelve months after treatment, but all teeth tend to move a little over time. In some people this will be more than others but it is not possible to predict how much teeth will move and so we can't tell how long you need retainers for. At Wetherby Orthodontics we recommend long-term retainer wear for all our patients. Even with excellent retainer wear there is sometimes minor movement, but this is rare.

Removable retainers

Removable clear retainers

These removable Essix retainers are clear, tight fitting and easy to wear as well as being effective at holding the teeth. Our patients wear them for two days full time followed by every night for twelve months. After that wear can reduce gradually, most people will continue with a few nights a week as long as they stay fitting well.

Fixed retainers

Also known as bonded retainers in some circumstances these are used as well as the removable retainers to give some extra security to the front teeth. These are especially useful if the teeth were gappy or twisted before treatment, or if there is a high tendency for them to move. A small wire is permanently fixed to the back of the teeth and can stay in place indefinitely as long as there are no problems.