After the active orthodontic treatment period is complete and your braces have been removed, you will be given a retainer. This marks the beginning of the retention phase, during which a retainer is used to hold teeth in their new positions while the jawbone, gums and muscles adapt. You must wear the retainer as instructed, otherwise your teeth may revert to their former positions, and the benefits of having had braces will be lost.

When to Wear Your Retainer

Wear your retainer at all times, even while you are sleeping, with the following exceptions: The retainer may be removed for eating, swimming, and mouthguard use.

Pain and Soreness

The retainer typically does not make your teeth sore but you may find that your speech is slightly altered for a few days after initial use. If you develop a sore spot on your gums, call our office so that we can adjust the retainer for better comfort.

Cleaning Your Retainer

Brush your retainer daily with soap and water. If needed, denture cleaner or water and baking soda (more natural alternative) can be used for a more thorough cleaning. If you have a bonded wire retainer behind your front teeth, be careful to clean it as well when brushing your teeth. Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it. If you feel that it needs sterilization, bring it to the office so that we can properly disinfect it for you.

How to Keep Your Retainer Safe

Because the retainer is removable, it can be taken out for convenience during meals and for cleaning. However, careful care should be taken not to lose your retainer. When eating meals, be sure to keep it in its case for safety. Never wrap the retainer in a napkin or store it in your pocket. Keep it away from dogs and cats, as they love to chew on these appliances. Please note: an additional charge will be incurred for lost or broken retainers.

complimentary replacement for normal wear and tear of retainers

We are happy you are wearing your retainers to keep that perfect smile!  If your retainer needs replacement due to normal wear and tear, we will make you a new one free.  If it is lost or damaged, there would be a charge.

types of retainers

There are three basic types of retainers; each work best in particular situations.



This retainer is a thin, tongue-shaped piece of acrylic molded to fit your mouth, with a wire that holds your teeth in position. The hawley retainer is simple, durable and easily removed. It is even possible to personalize it by choosing different colors and designs for the plastic arch. It can also be adjusted to correct minor tooth movements.

 Hawley retainer


This retainer is a clear aligner-type, which looks similar to Invisalign®. These retainers are custom-made of thin, transparent plastic which is designed to fit precisely over your teeth. Their main advantage is that they’re nearly invisible, with no wire to show.

 Essix invisible retainer


This retainer uses a wire, which is bonded to the tongue side of the teeth. It may remain in the mouth for many years but needs to be monitored by a dentist or orthodontist. This type of retainer is recommended for the lower front teeth, where there is a high risk of relapse of tooth position.

 Lingual Bonded retainer

Remember, your retainer can only work when you are wearing it! Please give us a call if you have any questions about retainer use.