See why retainers are essential

Retainers are an essential part of your orthodontic treatment and once you’ve finished with your braces and are enjoying your new smile, it’s very important to wear your retainers to ensure that the teeth don’t move following treatment.

  • They are fixed or removable and are one of the most important things to know about before starting braces.
  • As a normal consequence of getting older, teeth will want to subtly move no matter what orthodontic treatment you’ve received. 
  • Retainers make sure that your teeth stay straight, and they are required for a long as you wish to keep your teeth straight which maybe life-long! They do require commitment to wear and maintain but they shouldn’t make a big impact on your daily life.
  • The first year out of braces is often the most important but wearing retainers after that first year is a sensible approach to maintain that beautiful smile.

Do you want to keep your new smile?
Wear your retainers after orthodontic treatment!


The British Orthodontic Society’s ‘Hold that smile’ campaign is a reminder to all patients that retainers are for life. If you don’t wear your retainers, there is a risk that your teeth move back to where they were and all the good work will be undone.

The most commonly used retainers



These clear, plastic retainers are custom made to your teeth to give a snug fit to ensure the teeth don’t move and provide maximum comfort. On their initial fitting, retainers will fit tight; this is normal and the tightness normally resolves fully within a few days. Your retainers are designed to last long-term, but they do need to be looked after properly as they can be lost, damaged or broken. Please see our practice leaflet on how to Care for your Retainers.


Bonded (fixed wire)

A fixed wire retainer can be a useful form of retainer and is glued to the back of the upper and/or lower front teeth to help keep them in their new position. These are usually left in place long-term but they do have a limited lifespan and require periodic maintenance and review. We will supervise your fixed retainer (s) for up to 1 year following your brace treatment. After this time, your dentist can check your retainer(s) to ensure that they remain effective and in good condition. Please see our practice leaflet on Bonded Retainer long-term Maintenance.

Remember, you will need to wear your retainers following any brace treatment to ensure your teeth stay straight!

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