What are retainers?

Retainers are worn after braces to keep your teeth straight and ensure they don’t move back to their original position.

Two types of retainers are available: removable and fixed. After your orthodontic treatment, your dentist or orthodontist will discuss retainer options and provide aftercare advice.

Removable retainers

Removable retainers are transparent, flexible, plastic moulds, custom-made for you.

They typically need to be worn full-time, day and night, for the first few months after treatment. Then usually, retainers are only worn at night, and after a year, this should decrease to one or two nights a week.

To avoid tooth movement, it’s important to follow your dentist’s or orthodontist's guidance on when and how long to wear your retainer.

Open mouth wearing fixed retainer on lower jaw.

Fixed retainers

Also known as bonded retainers, a fixed retainer is a thin, stainless-steel wire, which is attached to the back of your teeth and hidden from view.

Fixed retainers are increasingly recommended as a reliable, long-term solution. While removable retainers can be lost or forgotten, bonded retainers are attached to the teeth.

Fixed retainers need to be kept in place for at least two years. They could be worn permanently, depending on their condition.

How much does a retainer cost and how can I get one?

The cost of your retainer will be built into the total cost of your orthodontic treatment, outlined in your treatment plan.

You’ll be given your retainer at the end of your treatment. If you lose or break your retainer there is likely to be a cost to replace it. Speak to your local practice for more information.

How do you care for your retainers?

Replacing a lost or broken retainer

If you notice any damage to your retainer, or lose a plastic one, it’s important to contact your dentist as soon as possible.

If lost, your dentist or orthodontist will book an appointment to fit you a new one. If you break your retainer, you may need a new one, or your dentist may be able to fix it.

Why do I need to wear a retainer?

Retainers are essential to keep your teeth straight after braces. Our bodies are constantly changing as we age so, if you stop wearing your retainer as per your dentist’s instructions, your teeth can gradually drift back out of position.

If you stopped wearing your retainer, and your teeth have moved, it is possible to have braces a second time. At a consultation, your dentist or orthodontist can advise suitable next steps.

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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