Once we remove your braces, you will begin the retention portion of your treatment. Maintaining the results you achieved during treatment is key to the success of the entire orthodontic process. Use of retainers is indefinite/lifelong and not a minimum of 24 months as many will claim. Your long term orthodontic result depends in part by the use and maintenance of your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you've put in.

Bonded (Fixed) Retainers

lingualbondedretainerAfter orthodontic treatment, teeth have a tendency, to move back towards their original positions.  This is called relapse and studies have shown that it occurs in the vast majority of orthodontically treated patients.1

Aside from timely and CUSTOMIZED treatment, indefinite use of retainers is a necessity to maintain the benefits of your orthodontic therapy.

Retainers can be removable, but these have compliance issues, as they require the patient to faithfully wear the retainers each night or as prescribed by the orthodontist. 

The other option is a wire bonded to the back surfaces of the front teeth, which cannot be removed by the patient, and therefore known as a fixed retainer.  This wire should be bent in a laboratory on a model of patient’s teeth to be precise and passively contact the teeth.

Since nothing is perfect, it is important to understand and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of the bonded retainer:

  • Needs additional but minimal steps in home care to keep the area free of plaque that can lead to gum disease or decay.
  • It is not covered under most insurance reimbursements and may require periodic repair or replacement.
  • Retain only the alignment of the front teeth.


  • Minimal patient compliance.
  • Esthetic.
  • Provides 24 hour protection and stability.
  • Reduces injury to teeth in most cases of facial and dental trauma.
  • Splint and preserve teeth affected by previous periodontal disease or root resorption.

As peer reviewed research and literature have demonstrated2, along with our own experience of 45 years of treating patients in Howard County, we believe that customized, bonded retainers placed by the orthodontist (not an orthodontic assistant) are the best option to safeguard your investment.
1.  Thilander, B.  American Journal of Orthodontic and Dentofacial Orthopedics.  Orthodontic relapse versus natural development.  2000; 117: 562-563.
2. Zachrisson, B.  American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.  Multistranded wire bonded retainers: from start to success.  2015; 148: 724-727 

Click on the images below to view larger images.

    Essix Retainer

    essixThe Essix retainer is a clear removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth. Essix retainers have no metal wires and are virtually invisible. They are very durable, inexpensive and easy to wear.


    Hawley Retainers

    Hawley_retainerThe 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.