Retention / Retainers

In order for braces to move teeth the jaw bone surrounding the teeth must become softer.  As the braces apply pressure to the teeth the jaw bone holding the teeth softens.  This allows the teeth to move through the jaw bone (don’t worry they will not fall out).

This is an example of a bonded retainer.  In this case it is attached to the inside of the lower front teeth.  The teeth will not move provided the retainer stays in place.


you can’t forget to put it in
good at holding gaps closed


It is harder to keep the teeth clean (but not impossible)
It can break off from the teeth and will need replacing

After the braces have been removed retainers are fitted.  They can be fixed to the teeth or can be removable.  Retainers allow the teeth to stay straight whilst the jaw bone holding the teeth hardens.  If the retainers are not worn then there is a real risk that the teeth will become crooked again.  This can happen very quickly.

Retainers are usually worn for at least 6 months until the jaw bone has returned to normal.  However, as teeth are designed to move throughout life and as people’s teeth usually become more crooked as they get older it is impossible to guarantee that a persons teeth will stay perfectly straight for the rest of their life without the periodic use of a retainer.

The only way to guarantee that your teeth will not move after orthodontic treatment is to use a retainer.   The retainer will need to be worn periodically for as long as you wish your teeth to stay in position.  It is not possible to determine how much a persons teeth will move as they get older.

Retainers come if different designs and the most appropriate one will be offered at the end of treatment.