Retention: Long-term results


Choosing the right retainers for your smile



"Honey, have you seen my retainers?"

Wearing fixed retainers is a great option if there has been significant tooth movement. They are also great for patients who are forgetful or tend to lose their stuff. However, wearing fixed retainers does make it harder to clean your teeth. If you don't clean your teeth, you develop cavities, bad breath and gum disease. This is why only patients with great oral hygiene are allowed to wear fixed retainers. Everyone else should stick with removable retainers instead, even if this means that your teeth are going to shift a little bit!


We recommend that you wear fixed retainers if your teeth have moved significantly during your aligner program. The more your teeth move, the more likely they are to relapse back to their original position. Fixed retainers are very effective at holding your teeth position. Talk to your dentist to see if fixed retainers are right for you.


You know yourself better than anyone else. If you're the type that's not going to wear removable retainers, then you might be better off wearing fixed retainers. With fixed retainers, there's no more worrying about wearing your retainers, losing them or having the dog eat them by accident!


If you haven't removed your wisdom as of yet, then your teeth are much more likely to shift. This is especially true if you're in your 20's or 30's with wisdom teeth in your mouth. You might be better off wearing fixed retainers. Fixed retainers are more effective at maintaining your teeth position, especially when your wisdom teeth start pushing.


Don't wear fixed retainers if you aren't taking excellent care of your teeth. If you're the type that doesn't maintain great oral hygiene then forget about fixed retainers. In order to qualify for fixed retainers you must demonstrate excellent oral hygiene, keep up with your dental cleanings and show no signs of significant gum disease.


Straightening your smile is only half the equation. The other half is maintaining your straight smile over the years. It's very common for patients to have their teeth relapse back to their original position. This is why it's so important to wear your retainers after completing your orthodontic treatment. You have a couple of options when it comes to wearing retainers, which are:

  • Removable retainers
  • Fixed retainers

Removable retainers can be taken in and out of your mouth. Examples of removabel retainers include Hawley retainers and Essix retainers (clear retainers). Fixed retainers are permanently stuck to your teeth and you can't remove them. Essentially, this is a sturdy wire that gets glued onto the inside of your front teeth. This way, there's no more worrying about losing or forgetting to wear your retainers!