Once the active phase of orthodontic treatment has been completed, the majority of patients are provided with retainers in order to maintain the finished result. Retainers can be removable or fixed on the tongue-side of the teeth. Failure to wear or maintain retainers as instructed is likely to result in the teeth becoming more crooked and crowded as they try to move back to their pre-orthodontic treatment position. The orthodontist will advise you as to the most appropriate type of retainer to maintain your completed orthodontic treatment result.
Removable retainers are made from a thin, clear, plastic-type material and are custom made to fit closely over your teeth once your orthodontic treatment has been successfully completed. They are usually worn on a full time basis initially (except for meals, sports, swimming or when brushing your teeth) and then when asleep in bed each night in the long term. Removable retainers do deteriorate through natural "wear and tear" and need to be replaced in time.
Fixed retainers usually consist of a thin wire which is bonded to the tongue-side of your front teeth with a dental adhesive. They are not removable and they can be damaged if you do not take care to avoid hard, sticky or chewy food coming into contact with the retainer. Fixed retainers also deteriorate through natural "wear and tear" and need to be replaced in time.