How To Look After Your Retainer


Retainer Care | Manchester Orthodontics


Congratulations you have now finished the active stage of your orthodontic treatment!  

You will now be requested to wear retainers to maintain the current position of your teeth.  A variety of retainers are used within orthodontic practice, however at Northenden House Orthodontics we generally use fixed retainers, vacuum formed retainers (Essix retainers) or Hawley retainers.

A fixed retainer is a piece of wire that spans across your front teeth only, it is cemented into position with small pieces of composite filling material (similar to what your dentist would use to create a restoration on your tooth). The composite will not fully cover the wire so you may feel sections of the wire with your tongue, this is perfectly normal. If you have had a fixed retainer fitted behind your front teeth, it is important to check it on a daily basis, we ask that you run your tongue along the wire ensuring none of the composite has come away and the wire is still attached to your teeth. Should this not be the case then please contact Northenden House Orthodontics on 0161 998 2622 and we can arrange an appoint to repair it.

We generally advise that the fixed retainer is left in situ for a minimum of 1 year following the active phase of treatment although, each treatment is different and individual treatment plans should be discussed with your Orthodontist. Once your appliance has been removed you will be given night time retainers to wear, this will hold the teeth in the final position. The retainers are custom made so will only ever fit you and your teeth. We advise that night time retainers are worn for a minimum of 10-12 hours per night. Should you not sleep for 10-12 hours, we would advise that you brush your teeth of an evening and place them in slightly earlier than when you go to sleep. Only clear, cool, none fizzy water should be consumed when the retainers are seated. In the morning when you remove your retainer ensure it is cleaned with cool water and a toothbrush, taking care to ensure the plaque is removed from the inside. The retainer can also be placed in a cleaning solution such as ‘Retainer Brite’ following the manufacturers guidelines.


If you have been supplied with an alternative retainer such as a Hawley appliance, take care to follow specific instructions supplied by your Orthodontic practitioner regarding the wear of the appliance.  The appliance must never be bitten into place as you risk fracturing the appliance. In regards to keeping the appliance clean, ensure that the appliance is removed and rinsed following any meals or snacks. This will remove any food that may get trapped on the appliance. The appliance must be cleaned manually using a toothbrush once a day, taking care to clean the palate to remove any plaque and food debris that has accumulated.


Should you have any further queries about the retention of your teeth then please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0161 998 2622.


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  • Mohammad Malik
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