When your brace treatment is completed you will be asked to wear retainers. Proper use of the retainers is as important as looking after your brace. If you don't wear your retainers as advised, your teeth can move back towards their original position (relapse).

Depending on your case, we provide three types of retainers – clear (essix) retainers, wired (hawley) retainers and bonded (fixed) retainers. The type provided depends on your individual needs.

A clear (essix) retainer

Clear essix retainer image

A wired (hawley) retainer; used to replace missing front teeth

Hawley retainer image

A bonded (fixed) retainer

Fixed retainer image

Wear regime

For most cases we ask you to wear your retainers every night for the first year, then alternate nights from the second year onwards and then indefinitely for as long as you want your teeth to remain perfectly straight.

Retainer care

Liquid soap and water and a spare toothbrush should adequately clean the retainer. Avoid cleaning with toothpaste as this can discolour the retainer. DO NOT USE very hot water as this can melt the plastic of the retainer. Other cleaning products are available and we will discuss this at your retainer fit appointment.

Loss or breakage of the retainer

We provide one set of retainers as part of your NHS treatment. If you lose or break the retainer, we will charge you for a replacement.

If you have been given a removable retainer, it should be kept in a sturdy box when not being worn.

Bonded retainers

As with removable retainers, we will review your bonded retainer for up to one year after brace removal. After this, your dentist should assess the fixed retainer regularly to check it is not broken, or causing any damage to your teeth and gums. If it breaks after 12 months, your dentist should remove it and provide you with a removable clear retainer as a replacement. There may be a fee for this.