Retainers might not be the most exciting part of your orthodontic treatment, but they’re vital for maintaining a straight smile – so neglect them at your peril!
When your braces are first removed, your teeth will have a tendency to shift back towards their original position (orthodontic relapse). This happens because some of the more elastic connective tissue in your mouth and jaw that was stretched during your treatment now tries to pull back again. Over time this connective tissue will adjust to its new position, although that does not mean that your teeth will stay in exactly the same position permanently.
As you age there will be various natural factors that might cause your teeth to move. But don’t worry. We can easily and effectively control the effects of this natural movement using fixed and/or removable dental retainers, which are designed to hold your teeth in place.
Fixed retainers consist of a thin wire, which is discreetly bonded behind the front teeth to hold them in place. They’re very unobtrusive and designed for long-term wear to ensure long-term results.
Your fixed retainers can be worn indefinitely and will require very little maintenance. Just make sure you clean carefully around your retainer using special floss or an interdental brush, and see your dentist for regular dental health checks and hygienist appointments.
If you do encounter any problems, let us know as soon as you can and we’ll arrange an appointment to make any necessary repairs or replacements.
Removable clear retainers
Removable retainers are custom-made to fit your teeth closely to hold your teeth straight. You won’t need to wear your removable retainers day and night, but it’s important to wear them regularly, as instructed by your clinician.
You’ll need to keep your teeth retainers clean by gently brushing them with your toothbrush (without toothpaste) and rinsing them with water after use. We can provide retainer cleaning tablets, which will help to keep your retainers extra fresh. When you’re not wearing your retainers, keep them safe in a protective box. For extra peace of mind we can even arrange to have a spare set made for you.
With a little TLC orthodontic relapse is completely avoidable, but unfortunately we still see lots of patients who stopped wearing their retainers as teenagers and who now need braces again. In fact, it’s such a common occurrence in the UK that there are braces that have been specially designed to treat these cases.
To find out more about the options available for treating orthodontic relapse, book your free no-obligation consultation*
Your clinician will advise you on which type of retainer is best for you, but ultimately it’s your decision. In most cases patients are advised to opt for both a fixed and removable retainer.
If you misplace or break your retainer, get in touch with the orthodontist or dentist who carried out your treatment as soon as you can. Otherwise your teeth could start to move. You can find more advice in our blog article Lost your retainers? Here’s what to do. Please note, we only offer retainer repairs or replacements for existing patients.
It’s probably a sign that your teeth are moving and you’re not wearing your retainer often enough. Wearing your retainer for longer and more frequently should resolve this problem.
Yes, we can organise a spare removable retainer to be made for your peace of mind.
A fixed retainer should not affect your speech – they’re very unobtrusive. A removable retainer could give you a slight lisp, which will quickly disappear.