Orthodontic Retainers

What are They?

Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient will receive retainers to stabilise the dental correction. Teeth will always want to move back after brace treatment, this can be prevented by long term retainer wear.
We encourage wearing retainers as instructed. Failure to wear the retainers may result in undesirable movement of the teeth, which could lead to re-treatment. We want your smile to stay beautiful and straight for years to come! To make sure that happens, you have important responsibilities as a patient post-treatment, which are outlined below.

How Do They Work?

Where possible, it is recommended for patients to have both types of retainers, removable and fixed. HoldthatSmile campaign
Watch our British Orthodontic Society (BOS) short film as well as the animation that BOS has produced to support our #HoldthatSmile campaign. It has been produced to inform patients about the importance of lifelong retention.

How Orthodontic Retainers are Worn

Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, we recommend that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely. A patient should wear retainers as much as possible for one year after removing braces.
After approximately one year, the patient can wear the orthodontic retainer just at night. We aim to see, in person or virtually, every six to nine months to review your bite and smile.

How Do They Look?

Removable retainers are clear thin mouthguards mainly worn at night. They cover all of the teeth and ensure teeth keep their final position. Fixed retainers are a thin wire glued behind your front teeth. They prevent the front teeth from moving back.

What Do You Need to Know about Removable Retainers?

  • Removable retainers should be worn as instructed by the orthodontist.
  • How often you wear your retainers will be discussed when the retainers are given to you. For most people it is every night for 6 months, then alternative nights for 6 months.
  • After the supervised retainer period is twelve months retainers can usually be worn 1-2 nights per week for life.
  • There is never a time to stop wearing your retainer, time of wear decreases but never stops.
  • Insert and remove the removable retainer as instructed. Always use two hands to do this or you can break your retainer.
  • When the retainers are not in your mouth they should be kept safe in a brace box to avoid damage. Never in a tissue or napkin.
  • The retainers are cleaned with a nail brush or toothbrush and soap and cold water. Do not use toothpaste as this can scratch the retainer material
  • Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers or car dashboards. Do not use hot water or they will change shape and no longer fit
  • The retainers can be freshened by using a cleaning tablet for 20 minutes twice a week such as “Retainer Brite”.
  • Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed. If the retainers are lost or damaged due to neglect, there will be a charge for replacement. If the retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.

Download Instructions Here

What You Need to Know About Fixed Retainers (Bonded Wire)?

  • The bonded wire should stay on forever. 
  • The only exception is if your dentist says you are not keeping it clean and it is beginning to cause gum or bone problems. If this should occur, please have the wire removed and replace it with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr Mo prescribes. 
  • The fixed wire will protect the teeth as the patient gets older and your facial muscles get tighter. Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month checkups.
  • Spend an extra 30 seconds brushing your fixed retainer. Ensure you contact all surfaces, especially the area of the tooth below the wire.
  • Use ‘Superfloss’ or interdental brushes regularly to clean between the teeth.
  • Normal floss cannot be used as it cannot go down between the teeth. Superfloss is threaded through the teeth below the retainer and above the gum.
  • The use of electric toothbrushes and will help the cleaning.
  • Although the wire is a strong metal, the adhesive is much weaker and care must be taken not to fracture/break it. Hard, crunchy and sticky items should be avoided in the bonded retainer area, but if desired can be enjoyed using back teeth

Habits or Conditions That Require Stronger Retention

  • Mouth breathing
  • Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
  • Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture, or abnormal tongue posture
  • Playing musical instruments with a reed
  • Lip sucking
  • Pen or pencil biting
  • Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
  • Severely rotated teeth

Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.

Dental Examination and Cleanings

The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, including thorough brushing and flossing techniques. The family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.

Fact File & Fact

Please visit the British Orthodontic Society website (Fact File & FAQ) to learn more.


Orthodontics with Dr Mo

If you’re looking for an orthodontist near me in Edinburgh, our specialist Orthodontist, Dr Mo Almuzian, has 20 years of experience. Dr Mo is passionate about basing his treatments on producing a healthy foundation with functional aesthetic orthodontic outcomes. All suggested treatment plans are based upon researched evidence and customised according to the difficulty and aesthetic result required.

Every member of your family will be comfortable
in our state-of-the-art facility.