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  • Prevent movement of teeth
  • Can be fixed or removable
  • Keep teeth in a specific position

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These are orthodontic appliances which “retain” the teeth in the correct position, once orthodontic treatment is complete. Retainers are as important, if not more than, the actual orthodontic appliances. This is because they will keep the teeth in the correct position that orthodontics intended them to be.

Teeth have a natural tendency to move back into their original position without them. This is a phenomenon known as relapse. If relapse occurs, further orthodontic treatment may be required to correct this. It is for this reason retainers are such a crucial part of orthodontic treatment.

Fixed vs. Removable Retainers

There are variety of options available, which can either be fixed or removable. Fixed retainers involve placing a small wire on the inner sides of the upper and lower teeth. This is attached with unique dental adhesive material. This maintains them in their specific position. Furthermore, they stay in permanently and do not need to be removed.

Alternatively, there are removable retainers which are clear and made of acrylic. These must be worn at night to retain the teeth in the correct position. They can be made by taking some simple moulds. These are then sent to a lab who construct them tailored bespoke to the position of the teeth. This makes the problem of lost, broken or misplaced retainers easy to fix with simple moulds taken by the dentist.

Things to remember with retainers

  • Always bring your retainer(s) to each check-up with your dentist.
  • When not wearing it, always keep your retainer in a protective box.
  • If you lose or damage your retainer, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal or snack.
  • Wear it! The less you wear your retainer, the more your teeth will move and, therefore, the longer you will need to wear it in the long run.

frequently asked questions

What is a retainer?
Will I still need regular check ups?
Will having a retainer affect my playing contact sports?
What do I do if I lose or damage my retainer?
How will a retainer affect my day to day life?
How long will I have to wear my retainer for?
Should I avoid certain food and drink?

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