With an ever-growing number of teens and adults turning to braces in order to obtain straighter teeth, there has also been a rise in the number of teeth retainers being worn as a method of post-orthodontic treatment. If you are considering braces as treatment for any kind of positioning issue with your teeth, such as gaps or overcrowding, a retainer will naturally be a part of this process. 

At Hove Dental Clinic, we believe it is important for our patients to be as well-informed about the choices they are making for their teeth as possible. As such, we have created this guide on teeth retainers so that you may go into a consultation with as much knowledge as you need to make the best decision for your dental health.

If you have been considering teeth straightening procedures in order to find your dream smile, book a free consultation with our practice today. Our friendly, experienced team will be happy to sit and discuss your options with you, before you decide if you want to move forward with any treatments.


What are Teeth Retainers?

Teeth retainers are a brace-like application commonly used as post-orthodontic treatment. This takes place once a patient has had their braces removed, usually after a procedure such as teeth straightening. Retainers will hold your newly-aligned teeth in place while the surrounding gum and bone both adjust to their new position in your mouth, settling your teeth in the exact position you were hoping for when you set out to transform your smile.

It must be noted that if you undertake physical activity that requires a helmet, such as skateboarding, cycling or horse riding, you will need to wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth. If you have a removable retainer and you play a contact sport, you should also remove it and wear a mouthguard instead. Your retainer should also not be worn when swimming. 

When not in your mouth, your retainer should be kept in a protective box in order to prevent loss or damage. However, should either of these happen, call your dentist or orthodontist for an appointment as soon as possible.

What are Teeth Retainers Made From?

Typically, removable retainers will be made from rubber or clear plastic and metal wires that cover the outside surface of a patient’s teeth. Permanent retainers, on the other hand, will normally consist of a metal wire that is fixed to the back of the teeth.

How Long Will I Need to Wear Retainers?

How long you will need to wear your retainers for may vary, depending on the level of treatment you needed beforehand. When you are provided with a removable retainer, for example, the minimum amount of time most typically advised by orthodontists will be around 12 months, and they should advise you on the correct times to wear it. On most occasions, this will be for most of the day, with the retainer only being removed to clean your teeth (at which time you should also carefully clean the retainer).

It must be noted that there is likely to be some tooth movement if you decide to stop wearing your retainers, or if you choose to wear them infrequently when this hasn’t been advised. Changes in the positioning of your teeth are a completely normal part of the aging process and can continue throughout life, but if you wish to keep your teeth as straight as possible and you want this to be permanent, you must be prepared to wear your retainer as advised. In some cases, this may involve having a retainer as a night guard alternative, permanently protecting your teeth from shifting as you sleep.

The Types of Teeth Retainers Available to You

Retainers are custom-made for individual patients and come in different varieties, but there are two basic types available for post-orthodontic treatment: removable retainers and fixed retainers. When you choose to book an appointment for any sort of treatment which will require wearing braces, your orthodontist should be able to discuss these options with you, as you will need to wear a retainer once the braces are removed. 

Your orthodontist will be able to provide a knowledgeable and informed opinion on which type of retainer will be best for you. However, they should also ensure that you are completely comfortable with the retainer you will be receiving.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers, otherwise known as bonded or permanent retainers, are made of a metal wire that is then glued to a patient’s teeth, quite often resembling traditional metal braces with a smooth and solid or braided texture. They are most commonly used for your bottom teeth, but this may not always be the case, as retainer use is determined by what is best in your individual circumstances.

Removable Retainers

There are three common types of removable retainers that your orthodontist may suggest. These may be Essix retainers, which are made from clear plastic, Vivera, which are also plastic (and are retainer sets for Invisalign), and Hawley retainers, which are made of thin metal wires that are shaped to fit both upper and lower teeth, depending on which half required the straightening procedure. 

How Much Will Teeth Retainers Cost?

We know that the next most important question on your mind will be about how much a retainer costs. Generally, the cost of a retainer can vary by quite a considerable amount, depending on the type you have and whether you receive treatment privately or on the NHS. There will also normally be further costs involved if you need a replacement retainer after yours is lost or broken.

To find out more about what a set of teeth retainers may cost for you, please contact us and book an appointment today. Our dentists will be able to help decide which set of retainers will work best for your teeth, should you require treatment that involves braces.

Book a Consultation for Your Orthodontic Treatment Today

If you have been considering a straightening treatment for gaps or overcrowding in your teeth, get in touch with our team at Hove Dental Clinic for a free consultation today. 

Our team will be more than happy to help you decide on the best course of action for your treatment, creating the smile you have always wanted while taking your teeth, comfort and dental health into full consideration. We will ensure that you continue to receive the best in patient care throughout your treatment, and we will always be available to answer any questions you may have. Contact us via phone or email today, and let us help you to start grinning again.