Retainer Instructions


Dear Patient, 


You have successfully completed your Braces journey and are now moving on to the maintenance phase! 

Types of retainers you might get: 

Permanent (fixed, bonded) retainers        

How to clean permanent retainers?  

How to clean Fixed Lingual retainer wire behind teeth.

Removable Retainers        

Different types of Removable Retainers


How often should I wear my Retainers?

Teeth are biological structures sitting in gums and bones. It is natural for teeth to move slightly with time. Retainers are very important to avoid/minimize Teeth Relapse (teeth shifting back towards their original position). Retainers are maintainers and should be worn to sleep for lifelong maintenance. 

Research has shown that relapse of tooth positions is the most intense in the 1st year after completing braces/ Invisalign treatment. Retainer wear is critical for stabilizing treatment results.
If you have forgotten to wear your retainers for a few days, the retainers will feel tight when you next put them on.
This means that teeth have moved slightly (RELAPSE) and the retainers are trying to squeeze them straight. It is a warning sign. Do not ignore this.
Wear the retainers FULL TIME (except during eating and brushing teeth) for the next 1 month to act like ‘mini Invisalign’. The retainers must be fully seated to help move teeth back into place.
In general, for fixed braces cases:
  • First 6 months Full-time wear of 20 hrs. DAILY
  • Next 6 months 10 to 12 hours DAILY
  • After that, alternate nights to sleep for as long as you want to maintain straight teeth.
In general, for Invisalign cases:
  • First 6 months: Wear 12-14 hours DAILY
  • The minimum is from after dinner to the next morning. 
  • After that, aim for alternate nights of retainer wear for as long as you want to maintain straight teeth.
  • Retainers are NOT aligners. Please DO NOT throw retainers away after 1 week of wear (yup, it has happened before!). 

Retainer Care Tips

How to clean my removable retainers?

How to clean  or brush retainers, aligners, Invisalign.
Brush your retainer twice a day with a toothbrush and a little bit of toothpaste

Look out for cracks and traces of wear on your retainers, it may indicate a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth. You might need a firmer and more durable retainer to withstand your grinding tendencies. If you do have this para-functional habit, it is recommended to consider alternative Retainers that can withstand the heavy grinding forces. Please speak to any member of our #SmileTeam.

Retainers damaged by grinding or bruxism.
Grinding damage on Clear Retainers

What happens during a Retainer Review Appointment?

Retainers MUST be brought for every retainer appointment to allow us to check on the following:  

1) Any teeth relapse (For small changes, we are able to adjust the retainers to straighten teeth!) 

2) Retainer condition and cleanliness (We are able to tighten retainers and send retainers for a deep ultra-sonic clean in our lab) 

3) Retainer compliance (We can assess if it’s time to scale down the hours of retainer wear) 

4) Dental hygiene (Any dental decay? Gum disease? Bad breath?) 

5) Problems in the eruption of wisdom teeth (when applicable) 

It was certainly our pleasure to complete your braces journey, we are going to miss you! 

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See you at your next review appointment! 

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Cheers always, 

Dr Poon Kee Hwang & The Team at MyBracesClinic