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Retainer wear and care instructions

Removable retainers

  • Wear the retainer(s) at least 8–12 hours every day. If it is easier, this can be at evenings and at night-time, including when you sleep.
  • Make sure to put the retainers at the top of your packing list so you take them with you on holiday.
  • Check the retainer fits closely around and/or over your teeth.
  • Your speech will sound different but should improve as you get used to the retainer.
  • Remove your retainer(s) for eating/drinking and brushing/flossing.
  • Remove your retainer(s) using the tips of your fingernails, pulling down on both sides towards the back. Never pull the retainer out from the front teeth first.
  • Store the retainer in the container provided, away from heat and sunlight, when you are not using it.
  • Clean the fitting surface daily with a toothbrush and cold tap water (hot water will melt the plastic), over a sink or bowl of water. You can also use RetainerBrite periodically to clean the retainers, however please avoid denture cleaning tablets/Milton/Bleach, etc.
  • Always bring your retainer(s) when you see your dentist so that we can check the fit
  • If your retainer does not fit, is broken or lost, contact us straight away for advice. Without retainers, teeth can revert back to the way they were before braces. If you notice that your retainer is tight, this means that your teeth have moved slightly and you need to wear your retainers more often and for more hours.
  • If you do not wear your retainers for a few days and for more than a week, your retainer might feel very tight and forcing it in especially over time would cause it to crack or break or cause holes, or your retainer can become too painful to wear and will no longer fit. This is a sign that your teeth have moved and you need to have a new scan or mould taken of your teeth to make new retainers.
  • You may need a new retainer if you have dental work done like a filling, crown, or if wisdom teeth come through.

Fixed/Wire retainers

  • The bonded wire retainer is attached to the front teeth to prevent your teeth from moving after treatment. As long as this is intact it will remain there indefinitely.
  • Cleaning: Use a soft toothbrush behind the teeth to clean the retainer.
  • Flossing: Use TePe interdental brushes daily to clean under the retainer and in between your teeth.
  • Hard/Sticky foods: Be careful eating hard or sticky foods as this can damage the wire retainers or remove the glue/bond that holds the wire in place. Foods to avoid include hard crusty breads, apples, carrots, chewy sweets, etc.
  • Breakages: If the wire retainers become loose on a particular tooth or breaks, contact us immediately for advice. In the interim, wear your removable retainer full time until it is fixed.
  • Your retainer is not indestructible and will require maintenance from time to time. Continue your visits with your dentist in order to monitor the condition of your fixed retainer.
  • We also recommend that you see the hygienist regularly as plaque and tartar often accumulates around the fixed wires, which the hygienist will remove at these hygiene appointments.