Retainers are an important part after the completion of any braces or clear aligners Invisalign or ClearCorrect orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic retainers fall into 2 main categories:

  1. Fixed Orthodontic Retainers. These are fixed wires that are attached behind the lower and / or upper front teeth. They are “invisible” in that it cannot be seen from the front.
  2. Removable Retainers. These are usually a clear or translucent retainer that fits over the teeth surfaces. In certain situations, we may make a plastic retainer with a wire bar.

How long do I need to wear my retainers for?

Generally speaking, the more crowded or spaced your teeth were before you had them straightened, the more important it is that retainers are worn as recommended after orthodontic treatment.

Removable retainers are generally worn for 2 months full time, then on a night time basis  after. We will then review when it is appropriate to gradually reduce the wear.

Studies have shown that over time, changes occur naturally in the teeth and without any orthodontic retainer wear, it is likely some teeth shifting may occur over time . For this reason, some teens and adults prefer the fixed orthodontic retainers.

Long term removable retainer wear is still recommended to keep the teeth straight. The frequency of this will vary from person to person, ranging from nightly wear to 1 night a week or every few weeks.  One guiding tenet is if the removable retainers are still feeling tight when you wear them, it is generally important that you do not stop the retainer wear.

Does wisdom teeth cause my teeth to become crooked again ?

Wisdom teeth that have insufficient room to come through can put pressure on the front teeth and cause re-crowding to occur. This can be reduced or avoided with good retainer wear.

Sometimes, as the wisdom teeth erupt, the overlying gum can get sore. It is important in this case if the orthodontic retainers feel sore when putting them in , to get them adjusted with an orthodontist, rather than stopping wear temporarily, especially if you have a removable plastic retainer with a wire bar, which can be difficult to fit again if some teeth shifting occurs.

In certain cases, impacted wisdom teeth can also change one’s bite. After completion of your orthodontic treatment, we will look at the wisdom teeth, if still present, and inform you what to do and when to remove them if needed.

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