After you’ve completed your orthodontic treatment, we’ll fit retainers to keep your teeth straight. Retainers can be removable, fixed behind your front teeth or a combination of the two.

Retainers are a lifelong commitment if you want to prevent your teeth from relapsing. If you stop wearing your retainers, there’s always a risk that your teeth could move.

If your teeth do relapse, it’s likely that you’ll need to wear braces a second time if you want them to be straight again.

To keep your smile straight for years to come, here’s our advice on what to do if you experience any problems with your retainers.

Hyrax appliance

You’ve lost your removable retainer

Removable retainers are made from clear plastic – we 3D print them in-house to perfectly fit your teeth to stop them from shifting. Eventually, you’ll only need to wear your removable retainers part-time at night.

When you’re not wearing your retainers, store them safely in their case. Unfortunately, because they’re small, light and transparent – they’re easy to misplace.

If you lose your retainers, contact us as soon as you can. We’ll need to arrange replacements before your teeth have a chance to move. Thankfully, our 3D printer provides a fast turnaround for replacement retainers.

Depending on when we last scanned your teeth, we may need to take new digital impressions to create your retainers. If this is the case, we’ll arrange your appointment as quickly as possible.

Your removable retainer is damaged

If your plastic retainer develops a crack or snaps completely, contact us for advice. We’ll most likely need to arrange a replacement, but we might advise you to keep wearing it in the meantime.

To avoid damage to your retainers, keep them safe in their case when they’re not in use. Always handle your retainers gently when you’re taking them in and out or giving them a clean.

If you are concerned about breaking or losing your retainers, for a small extra charge, we can create a spare set when we remove your braces.

Your removable retainer feels tight

If your retainers feel tight when you first put them in, it’s a sign that your teeth have moved. If you haven’t worn your retainers for a while, your teeth have probably started to relapse.

Keep wearing your retainers for a few days, and you should notice their fit improving as your teeth realign. Make sure you wear your retainers regularly to maintain the position of your teeth.

If your retainers feel so tight that they’re uncomfortable, please get in touch with us so that we can arrange a visit to the practice.

If your teeth have moved so that your removable retainers no longer fit, we’ll need to take impressions and 3D print new ones.

If you want to restore the results of your treatment first, we can explore your treatment options, including fixed braces and Invisalign.

Your fixed retainer is attracting plaque

If we notice plaque or tartar building up around your fixed retainers, it’s a sign that you need to step up your oral hygiene routine.

Plaque and tartar contain bacteria that feed on the sugars in your diet. Plaque should be brushed away every day, while tartar (hardened plaque) is more stubborn and will need to be removed by your dentist or hygienist.

If you don’t remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, they can eventually lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

To keep your fixed retainers pristine, brush twice a day for at least two minutes and use Superfloss or interdental brushes to clean underneath your wire.

You might find it helpful to use disclosing tablets to see if you’re missing any areas when you brush. Disclosing tablets stain plaque a bright colour, so you can see where it’s hiding and brush it away.
We’ll supervise your retainers for 12 months. During this time, it’s essential to see your dentist for regular check-ups, too.

To find out more about retainers after braces, contact our friendly team, who will be delighted to answer any questions. You can also arrange a no-obligation consultation with Dr. Jackie Clune to learn more about our treatment options and receive a personalised quote.