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The day when braces are removed retainers are fitted and the retention phase begins. This phase is equally important as the active phase as without full patient cooperation the teeth could move out of alignment.

The first three months of retention are viewed as if treatment is continuing with a more convenient removable brace. It is during this time that the bite settles and spaces fully closed. The retainer may be removed for mealtimes, for contact sports, and for cleaning. Otherwise, it must be worn all the time!

If these instructions are followed the teeth will not move as they are held in place by the wire around the outside of the teeth and on the inside by the plastic palate. With the Essix clear retainer, all the surfaces of the teeth are fully enveloped to stop the movement. If there is any movement it will be because the retainer has not been worn as instructed!

After three months the time-worn is reduced to just nights and then progressively reduced to part-time wear over a period of a year. Then it’s up to the patient as to how often the retainer needs to be worn to keep it fitting comfortably. The lower fixed wire retainer is only ever removed if there is a problem with the oral health in that area.

Retention will never be stopped. Keep the retainer fitting!