Here at the Grosvenor Orthodontic Clinic we believe it is important to provide prospective orthodontic patients with as much information as possible. This page of our website is intended to provide an insight into retainers, including information on what an orthodontic retainer is, how long they are to be worn for and how to look after them.

Once your active course of orthodontic treatment has been completed and you are no longer required to wear a brace, there is always the possibility that your teeth may spring back to their original position. This is why orthodontic patients are always required to wear a retainer, this in order to give their teeth the support they need to remain in their new position, and until the surrounding bone and surrounding gum has adapted to stabilise the teeth.

As with braces/appliances, there are two types of retainer – fixed and removable.

Removable retainer

Removable retainers are usually worn full-time for the first week (except when eating, drinking or brushing your teeth) and then each and every night for at least 10 hours, over a minimum period of 12 months and usually much longer although after 12 months this would be on a reducing basis. The inability to wear a retainer through loss or breakage should be immediately reported to the clinic.

Fixed retainer

Fixed retainers are secured to the inside surfaces of usually the upper and lower front teeth and are worn for a minimum of 3 years. The longer a fixed retainer is worn, the better, as it maximises the chance of the teeth staying in the desired position, they are often left in place indefinitely.


Not wearing a Retainer exactly as prescribed will almost certainly result in relapse. It is highly unlikely that the NHS would provide for a further course of treatment.