At the end of your orthodontic treatment, when the braces are removed, your teeth have a natural tendency to crowd again. This is a normal part of ageing, and things may start shifting back to their original positions or even new positions. Therefore it is very important you wear your retainers after orthodontic treatment to keep your smile beautiful!

Retainers are devices which hold your teeth in their corrected positions. There are generally two types of retainers: removable and bonded.

Removable retainers:


Hawley Retainer

This is an acrylic plate with three wire segments. It is firm and steady and good for maintaining any expansion of the jaw that was done with a rapid maxillary expander (RME).


Begg Retainer

This is also an acrylic plate but with one wire segment that wraps around all the teeth. It allows good ‘settling’ or meshing of the teeth into the bite after the braces are removed. You can take it in and out and choose different colours!



This is a clear upper retainer that is almost invisible. It is the most commonly used top retainer. Truform retainers are comfortable and aesthetic. It is important they are removed using TWO fingers, one on either side to ‘flick’ it down. If pulled out from just one side they are prone to cracking in the center! Cleaning is very important. We recommend gentle brushing of the retainer using liquid soap and water. Avoid toothpaste as it can cause the retainer to go cloudy. If it starts to stain we recommend soaking it in a solution of part vinegar and part water to dissolve any tartar build-up.

Bonded retainers:

hygienic retainer

Lower hygienic retainer

This is a looped metal bar bonded behind the lower front teeth. It is made with loops incorporated so to allow patients to floss easily. Hygienic retainers are our preferred lower bonded retainers because they hold all the lower teeth.

Lower straight retainer

metal bar retainerThis is a straight metal bar bonded behind to the lower front teeth and attached only to the canines. It is sturdy and reliable with studies showing 25 year success rates. The advantage of a lower straight retainer is that if one lump of glue comes off, the entire retainer will become loose, alerting the patient know that they need to see the orthodontist as soon as possible to get it fixed!

We recommend wearing your retainers full-time (that is, 24 hours a day and only taking them out to eat, drink, brush your teeth and play sports/swimming) for the first 6 weeks. Thereafter, night time only wear is suffice.

For the first few years after your braces come off it is important to wear your retainers every night. After that, the teeth are generally stable and wearing your retainers a couple of times a week or once a week is enough. However, there is no stage when you no longer have to wear retainers. Retainers are a lifetime commitment if you want your teeth to stay straight!

It is important to clean your retainers regularly. The best time to do it is when you take them out to brush your teeth. There are commercial cleaners available, but toothpaste and a soft-brush will do the job in most cases.

Like shoes, Truform retainers wear out after time, so you may need to get them replaced every few years. Bonded retainers, on the other hand, last a lot longer so long as glue is added to the back every time it wears off.