Retention After Braces

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What To Expect After Braces

Congratulations! Your active orthodontic treatment is now complete. You are ready to enjoy that perfect smile you worked so hard for! To make sure your teeth stay in the ideal position, retainers will be provided. Retainers are typically worn at night and our doctors will find just the right type for you.

Beautiful smile of young fresh woman with great healthy white teeth. Isolated over white


Once your braces come off, we want to make sure that your teeth stay where we’ve put them! A retainer is used to ensure your teeth stay straight and in the proper alignment.
There are a few different types of retainers that you can use after your braces treatment is complete.

How many hours per day do you need to wear a retainer

Retainer Types

Essix Retainer

Similar in appearance to Invisalign, Essix retainers are made from Essix
ACE® Plastic. They’re nearly invisible and are the most common type of retainer we use. Essix retainers are easy to wear, are very durable, and provide excellent retention. They do not interfere with the daily cleaning of your teeth because they are completely removable!

Hawley Retainer

The Hawley retainer is what you typically think of when you picture a retainer. A metal with a pink acrylic piece that sits on the palate. Hawley retainers are used if you are missing a tooth and under other special clinical circumstances. .

Fixed Retainers

A fixed retainer is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a wire is bonded to the inside of the teeth, and the retainer can’t be removed. These retainers are used when dramatic orthodontic treatments have been used and the risk of movement is high. Fixed retainers require special attention as they require a specific flossing technique. It is important to use a floss threader but also to be gentle to avoid damaging the wire or breaking the bond. It is very important to keep this area clean to maintain healthy teeth. Fixed retainers do need to be checked on a more routine basis to make sure that they are still effectively holding your teeth in place.
Do you have questions about retainers? Call us today to discuss your options.

How many hours per day do you need to wear a retainer

After completing an orthodontic treatment, maintaining your straight, dazzling smile is essential. During the "retention after braces" phase, wearing retainers can prevent unwanted tooth movement. At South Surrey Smiles, we offer both removable and fixed retainers for the upper and lower teeth. While fixed/ permanent retainers will be worn constantly, removable retainers require more accountability by the wearer. Initially, it's recommended to wear these retainers full-time, typically about 20-22 hours per day. However, the exact duration can vary based on individual needs. Over time, as the teeth stabilize, the duration for wearing retainers may decrease. So, while it's crucial to wear retainers more at the beginning, your beautiful alignment will eventually be maintained by wearing a retainer while you sleep.

How long do you need to wear a retainer after getting your braces removed

Following your completed orthodontic treatment, say goodbye to wearing braces and hello to retainers. Known as the retention phase, this ensures that all the hard work put into achieving that impeccable smile isn't lost. To keep your straight teeth from shifting, most orthodontists prefer their patients to wear their new retainer consistently, especially in the first few months following the removal of your braces. Some individuals might be given a fixed retainer or bonded retainer, which stays attached to the back of the teeth, offering continuous support. Others may have removable retainers that need consistent use. The duration for which you'll need to wear your retainer can vary. Some might wear it full-time for a few months to years and then switch to nighttime use. At South Surrey Smiles, our orthodontists will design a plan tailored to you, ensuring you maintain your hard-earned results.

What happens if I don't wear my retainer

After active orthodontic treatment, wearing your retainer is essential to keep your teeth in their desired positions. If you neglect to wear your removable retainer, you risk letting your teeth shift back into their pre-treatment position, compromising the money, time, and energy you invested during the treatment phase. Both the lower and upper teeth can easily move when braces are removed, making consistent wear of orthodontic appliances like retainers crucial. While fixed bonded retainers offer some level of continuous support, teeth relapse can occur if not well-maintained. Retention procedures are an integral follow-up to any orthodontic treatment. Failing to adhere to these protocols can lead to potential misalignment, making it necessary to undergo orthodontic procedures again. In short, ensure you prioritize your smile and keep your teeth in their corrected positions by wearing your retainer as advised!

What's the best way to keep your retainer clean

After all the hard work to straighten teeth, it's vital to care for your retainer to ensure your smile remains radiant. Luckily, taking care of a retainer after braces is a familiar process for most patients. Whether you have wire retainers for your front teeth or clear retainers, keeping them clean is crucial. For orthodontic retainers, regular cleaning can prevent harmful bacteria from building up, protecting both your teeth and soft tissue from potential periodontal disease. 

Here's how to clean your retainer: 

  • Rinse your clear retainer with lukewarm water after removal to clear any debris. Avoid hot water, as it might warp the plastic. 
  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste, gently brush its interior and exterior.
  • For those on permanent retention, pay special attention to the areas around the wire when brushing. 
  • For permanent retainers, use a floss threader to effectively clean around the wires. 

Prioritizing oral health keeps your orthodontic tools clean and effective, while also ensuring the health of the very smile they've crafted.