Some Vital Things You Must Know When Wearing Retainers After Braces

October 8, 2021

It can be a bit irritating and mildly inconveniencing to wear retainers, but it is better compared to going through the braces treatment again. In this post, we will be discussing what you need to know about wearing retainers, how long you have to wear them daily, and how to clean them.

Types of retainers

Orthodontists usually prescribe retainers after completing your treatment with braces. They are of three types.All these types of retainers are used to keep your teeth in a new position and prevent them from drifting back to their former place.

The types of retainers are:

Bonded retainer

The first type of retainer used is called the bonded retainer. It is usually placed on your teeth after the orthodontist removes your braces to keep them from moving for the first few months after the treatment.

Orthodontists usually recommend the bonded retainer if you must wear retainers every time as a follow-up to your orthodontic treatment.

Hawley retainer

The Hawley retainer is removable. It is also called a wire retainer and can be removed for cleaning or eating.

However, having a removable retainer doesn’t take away the need for you to wear them according to the orthodontist’s instructions.

Clear plastic retainer

This is the third type of retainer, and it is removable. The clear plastic retainer is also called a moulded retainer, and it is customised to fit and mould to the new position of your teeth perfectly.

In recent years, clear plastic retainers have become more prevalent because they are less visible and more likely to be appreciated by patients. This retainer is not the same as Invisalign, a teeth-straightening system, but is used to prevent the teeth from moving from their position.

As you wear these clear removable retainers, ensure that you follow the orthodontist’s instructions.

How many hours should I wear a retainer daily?

If the retainer you were given is the bonded one, you will wear it, although; that is day and night. However, if you have a removable retainer, there are different rules to play by. The exact duration that you will be given for the retainer is dependent on the specific needs of your treatment.

However, the typical time for wearing removable retainers is full-time except during cleaning and eating for the first four to six months after removing your braces. This is according to the Canadian Association of Orthodontists.

However,a study from 2010 showed that many orthodontists recommended retainers to be worn by their patients all the time for nine months after removing their braces.

After some months of finishing the treatment with the orthodontist, you should be able to get back to only wearing the retainers at night when you sleep.

How long should I wear a retainer after removing my braces?

As per survey done back in 2010, it has been mentioned that 58 percent of orthodontists suggest putting on removable retainers on completion of the treatment using braces. Most of the responding orthodontists recommended these retainers be worn throughout the day and every day for nine months. After that, the patients can then drop down to wearing them only at night.

You may never stop wearing a retainer, though you will need to get a new one after some years.

Still, according to this research, 40% of the responding dentists prescribe permanent bilingual retainers to their patients, which they will keep in their mouths for the rest of their lives.

However, despite the type of retainer your orthodontist recommends, you will likely be told to wear them forever.

What if I don’t wear my retainers?

If you fail to wear your retainers, your teeth will drift back to their original position. To straighten them again, you will need to undergo another session of teeth straightening.Also, forgetting your braces for a few weeks or a month will allow your teeth to return. After this, your retainers may not fit again when you wear them.

What is the best way for cleaning retainers?

Keeping the retainers as clean as possible is very important for protecting your teeth. If you are using a removable retainer, it is also essential to make it last longer.

How to clean a bonded retainer

When using a bonded retainer, you will need to clean it regularly as a part of your dental hygiene routine. If it is not removable, you need to floss the retainer alongside the front side of your teeth with a floss threader.

You should practise getting used to it. Even toothbrush needs horizontal and vertical placement for the removal of plaque and food debris build-up surrounding the fixed retainer you are using at present.  

How to clean a removable retainer

You need to clean your removable retainer with lukewarm water every time it is off your mouth. It is important to rinse this retainer while still wet with saliva to prevent food from getting hard on them.

Find out from the orthodontist if you should buy a unique soaking product to soak your retainers when they are not in use.

Also, you may want to have a special soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste to brush off the dirt from every part of your retainer daily. You need to be careful while doing this, as some toothpaste can be abrasive and scratch the retainer. Ask your orthodontist for the best type to use.

Suppose your retainer traps food debris, dip a clean cotton swab in water and clean it out. Avoid boiling your retainer in water, and do not try to wash it in the dishwasher.


It is important to wear a retainer according to the instruction of your Invisalign providers. The instructions for wearing retainers are unique. There are people who will wear retainers all day, daily for four months, and others will wear them for a year.

However, almost every orthodontist recommends using a type of retainer each night indefinitely after removing your braces.

Though it can be daunting to make a lifelong commitment to your retainers, it is a critical decision to preserve the investment you made for orthodontic treatment.

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