Why is There a Need for Long-Term Retainers After Orthodontic Treatment?

There is an appeal from the British Orthodontic Society asking Dentists to check that patients are looking after retainers long-term, as part of on-going dental care.

There are some misconceptions with retention. In the past we used to think that once patients reached a certain age, their teeth would eventually be stable. Now we know that’s not true, there is potential for teeth to keep moving throughout your life - it’s almost like a normal ageing phenomenon.

As a patient, you need to be willing and able to commit to retention long-term.

The retainers in Orthodontics can be chiefly classified into Removable and Fixed retainers and visible and invisible retainers.

Removable retainers: The removable retainers serve as retention for intra-arch stability and are useful as retainers in patients with growth problems.

Hawley’s retainer: The most commonly used retainer, designed in 1920’s as an active removable appliance. It incorporates clasps on molar teeth and a characteristic outer labial bow with adjustment loops, spanning from canine to canine.

Fixed retainers: They are normally used in situations where intra-arch instability is anticipated and prolonged retention is planned, especially the mandibular incisor area.

How to use and care for your retainer:

Removable retainers should be kept in a case to protect them. (Dogs love them, take care!)

During the first few days of retainer use, many people will have extra saliva in their mouth. This is natural and is due to the presence of a new object inside the mouth and consequent stimulation of the saliva glands.

There is usually a slight change in speech only for the first 1-2 days.

At first you may be required to wear them 12-22 hours per day. This recommendation is based on many factors including the severity of your finalise a few tooth positions.

The majority of our patients are on this type of program for 3 to 6 months. Most, if they have done the required hours in the first 3 to 6 months, can go to night-time-only retainers use at 6 months.

The night-time-only is highly recommended for the remaining 6 months or at least until 12 months of daily retainer wear has been accomplished.

After 12 months of continuous retainer wear, we will often recommend wearing your retainers 3-5 times a week for… as long as you live.

If you're looking for additional retainer advice, or considering orthodontic treatment, please contact us - Dr. Tromp is always ready to provide advice and a free consultation.


Contact Details



63 St. Mary Street, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 3JF
+44 1249 445111 or
+44 1249 655066

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