Retention is the stage of treatment that follows removal of braces. There are three main types of retainers and we will have individual recommendations about which type of retainer is best for you. The three main types of retainers are as follows:



AKA Hawley type retainers

These are what you would think of as traditional retainers. The general protocol for wear with these is full time wear for two months and pm wear for the balance of the first year. After the first year, we advise whatever amount of wear is needed to retain alignment of the teeth (this is highly variable from individual to individual). Under normal circumstances, this type of retainer has a life expectancy of 2-8 years.


AKA “Invisalign type” retainers

This is a clear plastic retainer similar to many types of bleaching trays. They have a typical life expectancy of 6-18 months and the protocol for wear is slightly different here. Generally, these retainers are worn full time (except to eat or brush teeth) for three days, and worn in the pm thereafter. After one year, we advise whatever amount of wear is needed to retain alignment of the teeth and, as above, this will be highly variable from individual to individual.



AKA “Glued on” retainers or “fixed” retainers

This is the type of retainer often used to hold alignment of the lower front teeth. It consists of a small wire closely adapted to the inside surface of the lower front teeth, held in place with dental adhesive. Good oral hygiene and some diet modification is necessary if this is the retainer of choice. This retainer has a typical lifespan of 2-8 years. In rare instances, bonded retainers may be used in the upper dental arch but they have a much lower success rate when used in this capacity.


Please bring your retainer to each retainer check appointment!

Each case is different and we will have specific recommendations for each and every case treated. If you have a question about current or future retainers ask Dr Burke or Dr Redford!

Check out some of our fun retainer options: (click on style)