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Looking After Your Retainers

Looking After Your Retainers

A retainer is a custom-made, removable or fixed appliance, which is fitted when your treatment is finished to prevent your teeth moving. In fact retention is one of the most important things to know about when deciding to have braces. We know that teeth want to move throughout your life and there is always the potential that after treatment your teeth may subtlety change position, if not held in position by a retainer.

The first year out of braces is often the most important but wearing retainers after that first year is a sensible approach to maintain that beautiful smile.

We want to make that process as easy as possible, so please follow our guidelines below:


  • Some tenderness in the first few days after fitting a retainer is normal.
  • Getting used to having the retainer in your mouth may take a few weeks.
  • If an ulcer develops on the gums under the retainer please contact the practice – the retainer may need adjustment.


  • It is very important to clean your teeth well before wearing the retainer. To avoid decay it is recommended to clean your teeth three times a day and to use disclosing tablets and mouthwash as recommended.
  • You may thoroughly brush the retainer with your toothbrush and toothpaste each time you clean your teeth. Do not use toothpaste on a clear ESSIX retainer as it will stain.
  • To disinfect and soften build-up on any retainer it can be soaked in a solution such as Retainerbrite following manufacturers’ instructions.


  • Wear the retainers as prescribed by your orthodontist –please follow these instructions well, whether you are wearing fulltime or part time.
  • Unwanted movements of the teeth may occur if wear has been insufficient. This may have financial implications to correct.
  • All breakages, loss or problems (e.g. problems with fit) shouldbe reported immediately to the surgery. Repairing or replacing the retainers may have financial implications.
  • Use a container to keep the retainer in when it is not in your mouth to minimise loss or breakage.
  • Keep retainers away from heat sources or hot water.
  • If you have a bonded (fixed) retainer: avoid hard or sticky foods when eating and use Superfloss to clean in between the teeth.

It is your responsibility to keep your teeth straight by making sure you follow the above.

If you follow the above guidelines and the instructions you received you will have something to smile about!

Keep your smile straight
Don’t forget, you will need to wear a retainer following any kind of treatment with braces to keep those straight teeth in line.

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