When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention phase lasts for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight! Your orthodontic result years down the road depends on your retainer wear now, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Initially after your braces are removed, you will wear your retainers full-time unless you are eating, brushing your teeth, or playing contact sports. If all looks well after a few months of full-time wear, your retainer wear will taper back to half-time wear. Eventually you will only wear your retainers at nighttime. Remember to remove your retainers before brushing, and brush your retainers before placing them back in your mouth.


hawleyThe Hawley retainer, one of the most common types, is a removable retainer made of a combination of metal wires and sturdy acrylic, and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is specially made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while any wire or acrylic framing keeps your teeth in perfect position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors and/or patterns.

Clear Retainer

essixThe Essix retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth. Similar to Invisalign® trays, Essix retainers have no wires. They are mor esthetic but are not as strong as traditional Hawley retainers.

Lingual Bonded

lingualBonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surface of your upper or lower teeth. Patients with bonded lingual retainers must be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause teeth to shift quickly. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep them clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your teeth as well as the wire. If your retainer breaks at any time during treatment, please do not attempt to adjust it yourself. Call us immediately to schedule an appointment to take care of the situation.

Important Tips for Successful Treatment

  • Wear your retainers as instructed by Dr. Pollei or our staff. You can’t lose them if they are in your mouth!
  • Store your retainers in their case when eating. Many patients have had to go dumpster diving because they left them on a lunch tray and then threw them out.
  • Always use your case when not wearing your retainers. Pets love to chew on retainers.
  • Use your toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your retainers daily. Do not use boiling water. In addition, you can also use Efferdent® or Listerine for a few minutes to freshen them up.
  • It may take a few days for you to adjust to speaking with retainers. Practice by singing, reading aloud and talking.
  • Take special care of your retainers as they are fragile. Contact us if you lose or break your retainers.
  • Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about how your retainers fit or feel. Do not try to adjust or repair them yourself.
  • Remove your retainers when swimming or playing contact sports.
  • Always bring your retainers to your orthodontic visits.