Retention is a way to keep teeth in their desired position and a retainer is the appliance that is used. A period of time is needed to stabilize the final tooth positions so that the surrounding bone and soft tissues can conform to your new dental alignment. Your teeth will move throughout your lifetime and wearing retainers can prevent your teeth from going back to their original position again.

Types of Retainers

Essix Retainer

Essix retainers are removable retainers made entirely of transparent plastic which makes them less noticeable than traditional wire retainers.

Hawley Retainer

The Hawley retainer is a removable retainer, which consists of a metal wire that typically surrounds the six anterior teeth and keeps them in place.

Permanent Retainers

Depending on your bite, you may do well with “permanent” (called “fixed”) orthodontic retainers. A wire is attached to the backside of your teeth.

Each individual retainer is suggested depending on the bite and the nature of the case.

Retainer Instructions
  • Wear your retainer at all times, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
  • Take your retainer out when eating, and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
  • Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
  • When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
  • Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
  • Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.