Retainers Milton Keynes – Everything You Need to Know

Retainers Milton Keynes – Everything You Need to Know

If you’re reading this you’re probably:

A. Getting closer to the end of your Invisalign or other orthodontic treatment

B. Interested in finding out about retainers and their role in straightening your teeth

It’s important to note that once your braces are taken off, your orthodontic treatment isn’t over. Even afterwards, you’ll need to follow your orthodontist’s advice in order to ensure your teeth stay in place and don’t drift back into their previous (misaligned) positions.

What is a Dental Retainer?

A retainer is a device – very similar to a brace – that is used to hold teeth in place after your initial orthodontic treatment is complete. It is designed and shaped specifically for each person. At first your retainer may feel restrictive and tight but this sensation tends to disappear after a few days as you get used it.

Why are Retainers Important?

Wearing braces does not automatically guarantee permanent realignment of your teeth. After you’ve had your braces removed it’s really important that for at least the first 3-6 months you wear your retainer as much as possible. The teeth will gradually become more firmly set in the realigned position over time (up to 18 months.) It’s best to plan to wear your retainer long term to avoid your teeth reverting back to their original position. By doing so, you’ll be ensuring your smile stays at its best into the future.

Types of Retainers

There are various types of retainers but they can mainly be grouped into either removable and fixed. The type that will be best for you will depend largely on your specific situation.


Removable retainers can be taken out and stored when they are not in use. They’re great for maintaining your oral health because they can be removed when you clean your teeth or eat. In order for them to be most effective you do need to wear them according to your orthodontist’s specifications so a downside may be if you either forget or don’t wear them as frequently as you should. As removable retainers can be taken out there is also the possibility that they could be mislaid, damaged or lost.


A traditional fixed retainer consists of a thin metal wire that is positioned on the surface of the teeth so is attached in a similar way to braces. The wire is then bonded to the teeth to ensure that it remains in place. Whilst fixed retainers successfully keep the teeth in place, they can be less effective to keep clean and when trying to maintain oral health.

How Long Will I Need to Wear a Retainer?

Remember it’s always important to wear your retainer according to your orthodontist’s instructions. Usually, the amount of time that you need to spend wearing a retainer will be dependent on how long it’s been since your braces were removed. Forgetting to wear your retainer for the odd day or two probably isn’t going to make a notable difference but it could become a habit and lead to more extended periods of it not being used. As a result, this will cause the teeth to gradually move out of alignment. To ensure your teeth remain straight, it’s highly recommended that you wear your retainer at night for the next 1 to 3 years and then continue wearing your retainer about 2 or 3 nights a week after that to ensure that your teeth remain straight.

Important Things to Remember

When using a removable retainer it’s important to remember to wear it as advised by your orthodontist. If the retainer hasn’t been worn for an amount of time then it may still be effective guiding the teeth back into alignment but be mindful never to force it into place as it could potentially damage the surface of your teeth.

Caring For Your Retainers

To keep your retainer in the best condition possible it’s important to ensure that it’s clean and well-maintained and capable of keeping your teeth straightened effectively.

Rinse your retainer in cold water before and after use to avoid bacteria accumulating in the mouth which can lead to tooth damage. If you have a permanent retainer, follow the same processes and give them a regular clean as you did with your previous orthodontic treatment.

Store your removable retainer in a plastic case when not in use. Avoid placing the retainer in hot water, as this can cause it to shrink. It’s also recommended that you wash your retainer with a specialised cleaner every few months. Finally, keep your retainer away from pets, as this is one of the major causes of damage to removable retainers.

If you’re unsure of what you need to do in your unique situation, or if you have any questions, please book a private consultation with your dentist or call the practice.