Answering All The FAQs on Dental Retainers

retainers after braces

Many imagine that after going through a long and arduous journey with orthodontic treatments like braces and aligners for several months, they will finally be able to walk free without another correction device in their mouths, but they are wrong! Retainers or dental retainers are a popular appliance that is prescribed by orthodontists all over the world post-braces. Typically these retainers are meant to be worn for a few months after your braces are removed. In this article, we will discuss the importance of retainers and answer some very important FAQs or retainer questions.

Why are retainers important?

Dental retainers are orthodontic devices that are meant to be worn post-orthodontic treatment. Since our teeth move naturally over the years, orthodontic treatment can only correct the positions for some time. To ensure that the corrected teeth do not budge from their right positions and ruin your smile, retainers after braces are used! These hold the teeth in place and keep them from shifting places. This is the reason why many people are prescribed retainers.

The most frequently asked questions about dental retainers

Since retainers are the final leg of orthodontic treatment, many have questions about their function, its duration and maintenance. If you too have some confusion on the topic of teeth retainers, then read on as we answer all the popular frequently asked questions on retainers.

1. What is the function of a dental retainer?

A dental retainer or a teeth retainer is a removable or fixed orthodontic device used to maintain the corrected teeth position. The main function of a retainer is to prevent any tooth movement and keep the teeth in place. Essentially a retainer helps retain all the work and improvements made by your orthodontic braces or aligners! Some key teeth retainer uses are:

  • Stability of teeth
  • Avoidance of any future relapse or shift in teeth
  • Adjustment of bite
  • Additional support on the dental arches
  • Comfortable when compared to braces
  • Protects against grinding to prevent wear and tear of the teeth enamel

2. Are there different types of teeth retainers after braces?

Yes, there are two main types of retainers: removable and non-removable or fixed retainers.

Removable retainers are made with plastic or acrylic and are the most common type of teeth retainers. They come in wired and invisible/ clear options both. A clear removable retainer is evidently the most convinvent type of retainer as it provides a discrete look and is custom-made to fit your teeth extremely well. If you are looking for a good quality clear retainer, check out makeO toothsi’s removable retainers. Wear them for 6 months everyday and get the best results!

Additionally fixed retainers are much more complex. Examples of fixed retainers are lingual retainers and bonded retainers. Both of these retainer types are bonded to the surface of the teeth using dental adhesive.

Along with these two main types of retainers, you should also note that invisible aligners like toothsi clear aligners also serve as retainers. Since they are custom-made to fit your teeth, they can be used for not just corrections but retention too.

3. How long does one need to wear dental retainers?

The amount of time that one must wear a retainer varies from person to person and this duration depends on many factors. Typically orthodontists start off with an intensive phase of retainer wear. In this phase the user must wear their braces 24/7. Following this, after a few months, orthodontists suggest wearing retainers only at night. The time required for retainer-wear depends on the severity of the dental issues, the kind of corrections made and teeth movement.

4. How long does it take to get used to wearing teeth retainers?

Of course it takes some time to adjust to retainers and this duration varies for everyone. Generally, the adjustment period should only last for 1-2 weeks after which retainers tend to feel very comfortable as they are custom made to snugly fit your teeth. Initially, you might face speech issues, saliva issues, some pain and discomfort among other things, but slowly and surely these issues will vanish.

5. How do you maintain your dental retainers to ensure they are in good condition?

Like any orthodontic appliance, retainers too require care and maintenance. Follow these important cleaning habits to ensure that your retainers are safe, clean and last a long time:

  • Always remove them while eating and rinse them often using an aligner cleaner liquid.
  • Use a gentle toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush to softly brush your retainers daily to remove any food particles or germs present in them.
  • Avoid hot water and soak your retainers in a cleaning solution (as per the manufacturer instructions) to make sure that they are clean
  • Do not chew or bite with your retainers on
  • Store them safely when you remove them to avoid any damage
  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice a day. Also use a mouthwash to eliminate germs and bacteria. This is a good way to also keep your retainers clean when you wear them.

To summarise, retainers are removable and non-removable dental appliances that are worn post-orthodontic treatment. They prevent the teeth from shifting out of their corrected position and protect your smile makeOver from any changes. Retainers are meant to be worn for a few months or even a lifetime, depending upon the severity of the case. The best way to care for your retainers is to clean them daily, avoid wearing them while eating, maintain good oral hygiene and safely store them to avoid damage.


What does a dental retainer do?

A retainer is worn post-brace treatment. It helps in preventing the teeth from moving out of its corrected positions. So once your braces are done, you must wear retainers to ensure that the changes made to your smile stay the same!

How long do retainers stay on?

The duration of retainer wear depends on the complexity of the case. Some people only need to wear their retainers for 3-6 months, but some need to wear it every night for their whole life!

Can I use a retainer without braces?

No, retainers will not help in pushing your teeth into a better or correct position so they will not be of any use to untreated teeth. No retainer can do the job of braces or aligners, so if you are looking to make improvements to your smile, opt for convenient and comfortable options like toothsi clear aligners.

Do I sleep with my retainer?

Yes, it is important to sleep with your retainers. Wearing your retainers at night not only stops any teeth movement but also prevents grinding of teeth and any eventual wear and tear of the enamel. Initially orthodontists advise users to wear their retainers for all 24 hours, but eventually they prescribe wearing retainers every night!

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